The news on the discovery of oil in Turkana County in Kenya was received with joy by the residents of this county after the former president of Kenya; Mr. Mwai Kibaki announced it officially to Kenyans. The discovery of oil in Kenya was made by a British company called Tullow Oil, which also discovered oil in Uganda. The discovery of oil in Turkana was to relief suffering from the community in Kenya, but it has now turned to be a point of conflict between the residents and the Tullow oil company.
Several meetings have been held between the community in Kenya and the Tullow oil company, but the community members are saying that the contagious issues have remained unsolved. The community has led recent demonstrations in Kenya, just outside Tullow oil company in Kenya at Ngamia One Parts of Turkana in Kenya. This has led to temporary suspension of company operations in the wells in Kenya due to fear of insecurity of its personnel.
The pastoralists in Kenya who live around the firm are claiming that they have been snatched large tracts of lands, and there is fear that the company may not compensate them. The complaints are coming from the people of Turkana South and East districts in Kenya. The wells that are under oil exploration are Ngamia 1, Twiga 1 south, Ekale 1 and Etuko.
The Tullow oil company is accused by Kenyans in this region of allocating jobs to people from other areas in Kenya, sidelining the Turkana community in Kenya. They also claim that the job advertisements are done in Nairobi without their notice, which ensured that they do not apply. The issue of tender allocation in Tullow Oil Company is also another problem that the community members in Turkana in Kenya are raising and are claiming that the company is awarding the tenders of supplying meat, charcoal and vegetables to the people of Kitale town and Nairobi city in Kenya. The community in Kenya wants to be given the tenders because they have business people within the community who can supply them. They also wanted their vehicles to be hired by the company because they are saying that out of 40 vehicles hired by the Tullow Oil Company, only ten of them belong to the community members of Turkana County in Kenya.
Although the governor of Turkana, Mr.Kooli Nanok has distanced himself from the demonstrations held at the company recently, there is a need for reconciliation between the community members and the Tullow oil company in Kenya. The central government, county government and the community members in Kenya are supposed to come to a consensus regarding the issues raised by the community members in this part of Kenya, so that the firm can resume its operations and save losing millions of shillings.
The economy of the republic of Kenya needs to grow, and the exploration of this oil will propel this country to the next level in terms of economic growth. We understand that Kenya spends a lot of money in the national budget in importing crude oil, and if the drilling of oil in Kenya begins, it mean a lot of money will be saved for other uses. It is our hope that the government can solve the issues so that we can avoid problems faced by the African countries that are mining oil and avoid more demonstrations from the community members in Turkana. The government should also ensure jobs in Kenya are allocated fairly especially to communities such as Turkana.