Protests After Chinese Take Over Kenyan Gold Mine

  • An image of Awendo
    Residents of Awendo staging protests, demanding the closure of a Chinese Company on Tuesday, May 19.
  • Residents in Migori County resorted to protests on Tuesday, January 12, 2021, after Chinese contractors reportedly gained exclusive rights over lucrative gold mines in the county

    The irate miners alleged that Chinese contractors working in the county had invaded their gold mines, and rendered. some of them jobless

    The residents blamed the county government of Migori for failing to safeguard their source of livelihood. They also blamed the Chinese contractor for destroying land in the area.

    Persistent protests from the locals has since prompted the Chinese contractors to seek protection from police officers as they go about their activities.

    An image of Migori Gold Mine
    An open field gold mine in Migori.

    One of the investors, in a risk assessment report addressed to the county government, stated that they have no intention of pushing the locals off their land or their means of livelihood.

    "Since they started mining in this area, women and men alike cannot work here. Even those who are in collaboration with the Chinese cannot allow us to work here. They have brought police officers," one of the residents stated.

    "It's our main source of livelihood. Everything we have since time immemorial we have got it from these mines. Since these people started working here nobody can be allowed here," another added.

    Youth in the area argued that working the mine keeps them off crime, also enabling them to fend for themselves and their families.

    A similar incident ensued on April 9, 2020, when the residents stormed the mines forcing a government administrator and the Chinese investor to flee.

    The residents claimed that the land in which the Chinese investor dug the mine was grabbed from locals. The land was allegedly grabbed with the aid of administrators.

    Some of the locals have been accused of colluding with the investors and selling the land without consulting family members.

    Over the recent past, there have been several reported incidents of locals clashing with Chinese contractors in the country.

    On May 19, 2020, residents of Awendo, Migori County staged protests outside a Chinese ballast company demanding its closure after suffering effects from its blasts.

    The residents complained of the blasts from the company that has had caused structural damage to their houses and affected their farms.

    Residents also noted that homes in the area were waterlogged, and a number of residents were counting losses due to the company. 

    They accused the company of digging a quarry that was later filled with water flowing to houses due to poor drainage. They complained about children in the area getting sick after playing with water from the quarry.

    An image of gold rocks
    Hands holding rocks containing gold
    Red Rock Resources