Kitui county has been on the spotlight for imposing business bans in the county since Governor Charity Ngilu’s inauguration in 2017. These business bans, ranging from sand harvesting to charcoal burning and related business bans have been met with lots of opposition.
In a fresh battle in opposition of the governor’s mode of administration and economic sustainability, the ban on the sale of iron ore is at centre stage. A local clergyman,who doubles as a dealer in the Timboni mines of Ikutha division has aired dissatisfaction in the embargo imposed by the Kitui county government on the sale of iron ore.
According to the clergyman, Rev Patrice Matuku, the ban has had more negative impacts on the locals than positives. He said this while speaking during his presentation on the challenges facing locals in the mining sector at the Jukwaa la Madini 2020 in Kitui last Friday.
Rev Patrice lamented that since the ban came into play in June, 2019, the locals have plunged into abject poverty and hard times. This, he noted, was because the sale of iron ore to brokers was the main business activity for the locals and a source of livelihood to many.
“The governor may have meant well for us because she had promised to get us a buyer who would offer very attractive rates. That has never happened and as a result the lives of many people who depended on the mineral for income have been turned upside down,” the reverend reported.
Reportedly, a number of families in the area have met untimely ends with women resorting to prostitution as an alternative source of livelihood. Men on the other hand can no longer fend for their families and have abandoned them as a result.
“The situation is dire in Timboni area. Married women and young girls who have dropped out of school and colleges for lack of school fees have resorted to prostitution to earn money,” said the reverend.
The AIC clergyman heads the Ebeneza Artisanal Miners Association in Timboni area. He has called on the county government to lift the ban if alternative markets can’t be availed to the locals.