Monthly Archives: November 2013

Pastoralists View, Neighbours Who Do Not Keep Livestock:

The term Ogiek means “the caretaker of all”. It is in reference to the community’s social and economic connection to the forest as honey gatherers. The alternative ethnonym, Dorobo, is in fact derogatory. It was given to them by their neighbours and perennial enemies, the Maasai.
“Dorobo” is an umbrella term that is found in both Kenya and Tanzania, but always in reference to small hunter-gatherer groups living next to the Maasai. It originates from the Maa phrase, “il-torobo”, which literally translates to “the ones without cattle”. The pastoralist Maasai viewed any other lifestyle as abject poverty.

Another tribe that has been referred to as Dorobo is the Sengwer ethnic group. According to tribal legend, Sengwer is the name of the father of the tribe. He had two sons, Mitia and Sirikwa. Sirikwa owned the Soi planes. He named his first son Chepkoilel. Sirikwa and Mitia’s children formed the 13 sub-tribes of the Sengwer community.

loosely translated, El Molo means “the people who eat fish” in Maasai. The full phrase is “loo molo onsikirri”, which loosely translates to “those who make a living from sources other than cattle”. In some contexts, the autoethnonym of the community is Gurapau, which means “people of the lake”. This etymology was triggered by the fact that the El Molo is different from their Cushitic cousins. The small ethnic group’s economy is almost exclusively fishing, while their cousin communities are semi-nomadic. They also rarely eat red meat, an oddity given their cousins’ preference for the delicacy.

In some contexts, the Illchamus community is referred to as the Njemps, a name given to them by colonial administrators. According to the Ilng’arua Maaraifa Centre website, Illchamus is Maasai for “people who can see into the future”. The community is made up of about 35,000 people. They are a sub-group of the Maa community and are closely related to the Samburu.

The Burji community introduced agriculture to northern Kenya. Before their arrival in the early 20th century from Ethiopia, the northern parts of Kenya were occupied by groups that were exclusively nomadic pastoralists.
Today, the Burji in Kenya are estimated to be about 15,000 people. It is actually part of a larger East Cushitic group in Ethiopia, where there are even more Burji speakers. All the groups trace their history to Liban and then to Gara Burji in Ethiopia. The Kenyan sub-group left Ethiopia as Emperor Menelik II annexed their territories.
The Burji belong to the same family as the Burji dynasty that ruled Egypt for nearly two centuries (1382-1517). Their shared name means “of the tower” in Arabic. It is in reference to the Burji dynasty’s seat of power, which was in a citadel in Cairo. The most famous ‘‘burj’’ is the tallest building in the world, Burj Khalifa, in Dubai.

The Endorois are perhaps the most famous of Kenya’s marginalized communities. From 1973, they were evicted from their ancestral lands around Lake Bogoria and the Mochongoi forest in Laikipia to create game reserves and conduct ruby mining. They embarked on a three-decade fight to get restitution for this violation of property rights.
When their pursuit of justice in Kenyan courts failed in 1999, the community filed a case against the Kenyan Government before the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR).
The ACHPR ruled against the Kenyan Government. This was the first time that an international human rights tribunal had found a violation of the right to development. The ruling was adopted by the AU Heads of State Summit in 2010, further strengthening the community’s claim to restitution and compensation.

There is no official data on the Waata because they are not recognized as a distinct ethnic group. They are treated as a sub-unit of the Wardei, the Borana, the Mijikenda, and the Oromo despite their strong distinct dialect. The Waata’s ancestral home was the area now covered by the Tsavo Reserve and the Arabuko Sokoke forest. They now live in the periphery of the Tsavo East National Park and are dispersed in other areas around the coast.
To the coastal Bantu (Kamba and Mijikenda), the Waata people are the “Walingulu” or “meat eaters”. They are “Wasanye” or “forest dwellers/foragers” to the Swahili, “Boni” to the Somali, and meaning “people without cattle”. The Amhara know them as the “Weyto”

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Posted by on November 13, 2013 in INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES



Livestock’s Contribution To Kenya’s Economy150% Higher

Livestock’s Contribution To Kenya’s Economy150% Higher

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Posted by on November 12, 2013 in Natural resources




The stand-off between Tullow Oil Plc. and the Turkana community in Northern Kenya is not just a shame; it is also a bad sign, a very bad telltale sign of things to come. Remember, strictly speaking, all operations in the area are still exploratory. Your bet is as good as mine on what to expect once (if) limited production starts next year as projected.
The unfortunate incident of protest by locals expressing dissatisfaction with Tullow’s ‘failure’ to employ enough locals leading to the latter suspending its operations and evacuating its workers brings to fore serious issues relating to security, investment viability and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) commitment. Questions now abound on whether the Turkana region is secure enough to carry on the operations; whether the success prospect is worth the risk and of course whether the IOC is doing enough to meet the legitimate expectations of the local communities.
Much as such stalemates are not new to any oil and gas operations world over, I dare say they are avoidable if communities and operators are willing to make certain structured commitments and concessions. This has been done elsewhere through formalized social contracting tools known as an Impact Benefit Agreements (IBAs) or Benefit Sharing Agreements (BSAs).
Tullow’s operations (and all the other operations of oil companies) in Kenya is governed by a Production Sharing Contract (PSC) between it and the national government. A look at Clause 13 of Kenya’s standard PSC reveals that the Company is under an obligation to ‘employ Kenya citizens in the petroleum operations, and until expiry or termination of [the] contract, train those citizens’. Two things stand out in this provision.
The clause is non-specific on proportions and is grossly generic in speaking of Kenyan citizens and not necessarily ‘local communities; probably for a good cause. It follows therefore that even though Tullow has now come out and declared that in fact 57 per cent of her employees are from Turkana, there is strictly speaking no legal obligation on the company to source any given proportion of its work force from the local community.
That said, the company cannot run away from the reality that locals have legitimate expectations to have the lion’s share of jobs at the operations sites. Whilst such expectations might have no basis in law, Tullow knows better than to turn a blind eye to the grievances voiced. Tullow knows that irrespective of the safety it might find in statute or the PSC, it needs social acceptance of its operations in the area.
It must address itself to the demands of the Turkana people. Such conflicting interests exist in realms beyond what is provided for in law and must be looked at broadly as those affecting an international company’s stature as a responsible corporate citizen. Specifically Tullow by committing itself to the international (US and UK) Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights as adopted by companies in extractive and energy sectors has an enduring interest in pursuing an approach to the problem that addresses the root cause thereof (poverty, unemployment and lack of capacity) as opposed to a strict legal obligation. However there is the problem of ascertaining the scope of demands that the local communities might pose in proportion to what the company is genuinely capable of doing.
On the other hand as things stand there is no framework within which the local communities can negotiate, measure or quantify the impact benefits from the operations. The option adopted by industry players and communities in other countries in such circumstances is the use of IBAs and BSAs which are recognized by the united Nation’s Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues as acceptable practice in resource benefit sharing.
An IBA is a written quasi-legal agreement that is the outcome of a consultation process about a proposed resource extraction, project or development that has the potential to impact the rights or interests of local communities. Though usually not required by law, it is a tool often used by companies in extractive industries to secure social acceptance of upstream projects and ensuring certainty in the demands of the local communities.

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Posted by on November 6, 2013 in News briefs




The Turkana community has laid down demands it wants met before Tullow Oil Company is allowed to resume oil exploration in the county. They first want the immediate withdrawal of the case against Turkana South MP James Lomenen, who is facing charges of incitement and robbery with violence following a demonstration he led against Tullow that led to the suspension of oil exploration activities.

In a memorandum to the government, community leaders say the demonstration was peaceful and was sanctioned as well as witnessed by the Provincial Administration, security agencies and Tullow.

The community has absolved Lomenen from claims that his actions were led by personal interests. They also want all professional caliber job interviews to be carried out in Turkana, where the work will be done, and not outside the county.

Tullow memorandum

The demands are captured in a document titled Memorandum to Tullow and the Ministry of Energy-Kenya arrived at during a meeting between Turkana leaders and the community on November 4, 2013. “Our people should be employed in all managerial positions starting from the country management down to the field,” reads the document in part. Through the memorandum, the community says it will complain if they are denied their rights and offered only menial jobs.
While urging Tullow to honour the demands as a priority to minimizing unrest, they also want the firm to adhere to its employment formula. “Employment should be based on locals getting 70 per cent, expatriates 10 per cent and other Kenyans 20 per cent,” the memo further states.

They also want liaison offices opened by Tullow in Lokichar, Turkana South Constituency, which hosts three drilling sites, for easy access of information and lodging of complaints and grievances. Foreign intermediate companies have also been put on the spot as they will be required to restructure in a way that suits the community’s requirements and interests.

On tendering, the memorandum states: “If Tullow as a company is ready to uplift the standards of living of the community, then the locals should be given tenders. To our surprise, Tullow believes the community has no capacity to supply.” They have condemned the notion as outdated and tantamount to abuse as the same tenders have been issued in the past to employees, friends and tribal groupings outside Turkana.

They accuse Tullow of setting very high standards in the leasing of vehicles, a move they claimed was aimed at locking out locals, something they want stopped. The Turkana are also demanding that a refinery be built in the region to process the explored oil.

Source standard newspaper 6/11/2013

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Posted by on November 6, 2013 in Natural resources