The discovery of oil in Kenya has attracted attention and interest from different stakeholders, including local communities. The Government of Kenya now prioritises the extractives sector as a key contributor to economic development. Despite these positive expectations, there are fears of the negative impacts of the sector, which need to be addressed. Following the discovery of oil in Turkana, the country has seen increased grievances, most of which revolve around local content, information asymmetry, beneficial ownership, land and compensation, revenue sharing, and security risks among others. Further, the law and policy making process has experienced unprecedented delays, for instance, a modern Petroleum Bill to replace the arcane Petroleum Act of 1986 has been pending in Parliament since 2014, an inclusion of contentious and weak regulatory provisions as well as the lack of robust consultations among citizens and stakeholders leading to accusations of elite capture and incompetence among regulatory officials among others. There is also lack of understanding of the sector, and the type and nature of grievances and existing remedies (judicial and non-judicial). The sector has experienced a number of disputes which to a large extent have been handled through formal court processes. The Constitution of Kenya establishes the Environment and Land Court to deal with matters relating to land and environment, and goes further to recognize the importance of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms. The inclusion of ADR in the Constitution is a progressive step and one to a large extent that has not been used and explored fully to establish its relevance and effectiveness in addressing disputes within the extractives sector in Kenya especially affecting extractive communities.
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Categories: Grievance Mechanisms