Reuters Africa

The Kenyan government must share revenues from its newfound oil reserves with the communities in its impoverished north to avoid armed insurrections, the minister for the region said.

In March, Kenya announced its first oil discovery by British-based explorer Tullow Oil in remote Turkana County, which borders South Sudan, Ethiopia and Uganda.

“My nightmare is to have a Kony-type group say: ‘You marginalised us all these years and this is our wealth and therefore we want to break away’, and basically just start an insurgency that’s endless,” Mohamed Elmi, Minister for Northern Kenya and Other Arid Lands, told AlertNet in an interview.

He was referring to Joseph Kony, an internationally wanted war crimes suspect whose Lord’s Resistance Army has trapped much of north Uganda in a nightmare of bloodshed, hunger and fear.

East Africa has become a hot spot for oil and gas exploration. Neighbouring South Sudan is an oil producer, while commercial oil deposits were found in Uganda, and there are vast natural gas deposits in Tanzania and Mozambique.

In Kenya’s Turkana County, 60 percent of the population are pastoralists who depend upon their livestock for survival. Successive droughts have hit them hard, leaving millions dependent on food aid.  Read more…