With Kenya’s elections being held in August 2017, the oil industry is seen to be a key factor in Turkana. The two main contenders for the Governor’s seat are Josphat Nanok, who is the current governor, vying on an Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) seat and John Munyes, the current senator, vying on a Jubilee seat.
Turkana is one of the counties currenlty affected by drought. There have also been incidents of insecurity along the border regions of South Sudan and Ethiopia. In March, president Uhuru Kenyatta had claimed that the county had received 40 billion Kenyan shillings while the Deputy President, William Ruto, claimed 50 billion Kenyan shillings had been allocated to Turkana.
Contenders from both counties, are however looking for ways that the oil revenue can benefit the communites so as to garner votes. The opposition has accussed the ruling party of being interested in the discovery of oil in the county hence its attempts to gain voters there. These claims have however been denied by the government.
The 2015 Petroleum Bill had suggested that the country be allocated 30% of oil revenues. It included a proposal for 20% of those revenues of go to the county and 10% to the community. The President however did not sign the bill proposing that 5% of the revenues go the community, a move that was criticized by Governor Josphat Nanok and other opposition members.
In January, the Deputy president had asked local leaders not to politicize the issue of oil and stated that the bill would be adequately reviewed.
Oil in Kenya
Oil was discovered in Turkana in 2012, by Tullow Oil, which is based in London. The company has spent billions of shillings on the community since it set base in Turkana. Some locals have however claimed not to have benefited from the discovery of oil/
Some organizations have also been exploring the extraction of oil in Lamu which is also believed to have huge deposits of natural gas.