Not so fast, say Turkana MPs as they vow to block pipeline works

The six Turkana MPs said the Jubilee government had neglected the region and failed to fulfil election pledges.

Thursday March 24 2016

Turkana South MP James Lomenen in the Suguta Valley. Six Turkana MPs under the Turkana Parliamentary Caucus led by Mr Lomenen have threatened to block building in Northern Kenya claiming that the Jubilee government has failed to fulfil election pledges made in 2013. PHOTO | SAMMY LUTTA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Turkana South MP James Lomenen in the Suguta Valley. Six Turkana MPs under the Turkana Parliamentary Caucus led by Mr Lomenen have threatened to block building in Northern Kenya claiming that the Jubilee government has failed to fulfil election pledges made in 2013. PHOTO | SAMMY LUTTA | NATION MEDIA GROUP  

By JOHN NJAGI
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Prospects of the government starting oil exploration in Turkana and constructing an oil pipeline in Northern Kenya suffered another setback after six MPs from Turkana vowed to block it.

The MPs, led by Turkana South’s James Lomenen, said the Jubilee government had neglected the region and failed to fulfil election pledges made before the 2013 elections.

Apart from mobilising the local community to block building of the Uganda oil pipeline to Lamu, the MPs under the Turkana Parliamentary Caucus, also threatened to vote against the ruling coalition.

“The government promised us roads, electricity, jobs, water and to fix insecurity but none of that has been done. Since the region is now getting focus because of the oil, we will insist that those pledges are fulfilled before we can allow the oil out of Turkana,” he said.

The MPs, who spoke during a press conference at Parliament Buildings on Wednesday, also accused President Uhuru Kenyatta of “avoiding them” saying they would also avoid him at the ballot in 2017.

The resistance by the MPs is the latest hiccup to face oil production prospects in the East African region, after Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni hinted that the country might choose to construct its oil pipeline through the longer Tanzanian route due insecurity in Northern Kenya.

However, the Turkana lawmakers faulted the Ugandan leader, saying only the Kenyan government was in a position to discuss the security situation in its own country.

They said diversion of the Uganda oil pipeline would deny the people of Turkana their rights and economic opportunities.

The MPs said the government should also consider waiting for the community land Bill, on compensation of communities along whose land the pipeline would pass through.

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