, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 28 – Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua wants a transparent system of ensuring that the oil discovered in Turkana is well managed to avert possible conflicts.
Karua has demanded citizens be told the terms and conditions of the extraction contracts relating to social, economic and environmental interests of the host community.
Other information Karua wants disclosed to the public is the criteria used to award contracts and information relating to the technical and financial viability of the companies.
“Prudent use of a natural resource wealth is a primary driver of sustainable economic growth and similarly if not managed properly can be a source of conflict and we have many examples we can point to where mismanagement of oil resources has become a burden rather than a blessing,” Karua told reporters at her party’s headquarters.
She said that the country ought to sign up to the rules drawn by the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative as a sign of commitment to transparency and best practice.
The Gichugu MP has challenged Parliament to seriously take up its oversight role and look into all issues relating to the oil including reports that a Cabinet minister had already gained from the discovery.
“Parliament must take up its role and demand scrutiny of all transactions and contracts to ensure that they are all in conformity with our laws and international standards. It is imperative that Parliament takes on board the interest of the host community and the nation, “she insisted.
Karua who has already declared interest in the presidency said that immediate corrective measures must be taken to address the issue and adding that future engagements on the matter will be conducted in a transparent manner.
She said that the citizens were entitled to the right to participate in the matters that affect their welfare and right to receive right information to enable informed discourse and the interrogation of the actions of the Executive.
Karua warned the two coalition principals that Kenyans were watching them with a legitimate expectation that the country will come out of the oil exploration better off than it is.
Earlier on Wednesday Trade Minister Moses Wetangula admitted that his former law firm was involved in the Sh800 million legal transaction for an oil block in Turkana.
He however said that he retired from the firm – that he established in 1983 – nine years ago, when he was first appointed into the Cabinet.
Wetangula emphasized that that he does not enjoy any financial benefits from the firm, which however continues carrying his name, as he is no longer a partner.
President Mwai Kibaki on Monday broke the news to the nation that after years of prospecting, Kenya had finally made a breakthrough by striking oil in Turkana County in the north, and that focus would shift to exploring its commercial viability.