, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 19 – Incoming Environment and Natural Resources Assistant Minister Margaret Kamar has officially begun her duties with a pledge to push for a law on climate change.
Prof Kamar who said the new law would help the country reverse the damage caused by climate change, added that she would also ensure that her ministry implemented the provisions in the new Constitution that touched on the environment.
“In Africa, it’s only Nigeria that has a law on climate change,” she said on Thursday.
She further promised to help restructure Kenya’s mining industry and see it reach its maximum potential. She explained that the country could increase employment opportunities presented by the industry as well as raise its profits.
“Currently the contribution is between two and 3.2 percent of the country’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product). But even in the current state it is possible to even double that,” she said.
Further, she argued that there was need for the ministry to work within clear policies that would guide the mineral resources sector.
Prof Kamar replaces Jackson Kiptanui who was sacked in the recent Cabinet reshuffle. On Wednesday, Mr Kiptanui claimed that the Cabinet changes were aimed at victimising those in the government who campaigned against the new law – a claim that was rubbished by Environment Minister John Michuki.
Mr Michuki who welcomed Prof Kamar to the ministry, said that the President and Prime Minister were at liberty to appoint those they deemed fit.
“The appointing authority also has the authority not to appoint or to change the appointment,” he said.
He added that his ministry was ready to start implementing Articles 71 and 72 of the new Constitution (on natural resources and the environment): “We are ready to set up a working partner that will work with us on the political front to make sure that the requirements of those articles are met within one year. The committee task force is now under the PS to ensure that this is complied with.”
Mr Michuki further expressed confidence in Prof Kamar’s ability to help reform the environmental sector saying she was a ‘well rounded person’: “We welcome the new talent and I believe that her academic as well as professional qualifications make her suitable for the assignment.”
Prof Kamar is the Member of Parliament for Eldoret East. She has served as a nominated member of the East African Legislative Assembly. Aside from politics, she is a soil scientist with a teaching career at the Moi University where she served as the principal of the Chepkoilel campus.
She has also worked as the University’s Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Research and Extension.