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The Deputy President’s spouse, Pastor Dorcas Rigathi, has asked parents within the gold mining areas to restrain their children from working in the mines to help combat child labour within the country.

Speaking at Osiri Primary School in Nyatike Sub County of Migori County, where she issued certificates to registered miners, Pastor Dorcas said children must be taken to school for the sake of their future lives.

She also handed over various working gears to selected miners, including helmets, reflector jackets, and a brand new vehicle, to the department of mining in Migori County.

The deputy president’s spouse pointed out that education is the best investment parents can offer their children, instead of sending them to do menial jobs, some of which are dangerous to their lives.

Pastor Dorcas said the boy-child must be protected and jealously guarded well like the Girl-Child, saying the Kenyan boy-child faces a lot of challenges that must be addressed urgently.

“The boy child must be protected from peer pressure, drugs, and other hard substances that spoil their life,” she told the gathering.

The Deputy President’s spouse, Pastor Dorcas Rigathi, and Mining PS Elijah Mwangi handing over one of the vehicles given to the Mining Department in Migori County at Osiri Matanda Mines. Photo by Polycarp Ochieng.

She said that apart from the boy-child, she was also looking forward to promoting the lives of orphans, widows, and physically challenged people by giving them the necessary assistance.

Concerning artisanal mining, she noted the Kenya Kwanza government’s effort to ensure that the mining sector is growing and that artisanal miners are offered good prices for their minerals and supplied with protective gears to save them from the dangers that they are always exposed to while prospecting for the precious minerals.

The government, she said, has constructed the gold refinery plant in Kakamega, a facility that would ensure that artisanal miners reap well from their work.

Mining Permanent Secretary (PS) Elijah Mwangi, who accompanied Pastor Dorcas, said mining is a business venture that needs to be promoted at all costs.

Mwangi said artisanal miners would be allowed to work in a conducive environment by issuing them with permits and licenses to enable them to do their work freely.

The PS said in Migori alone, some 23 mining groups have already been formalised to operate legally, adding that the government has initiated a programme that is geared to bring registration and issuing of permits and licenses closer to the miners.

“The state has also acquired gadgets worth over Sh600 million to help determine the correct amount of money they would get from buyers of their minerals,” he announced.

He regretted that currently, gold and copper miners are losing a lot at the hands of middlemen who underpay them for their minerals.

At the same time, the state wants to delve into a programme to collect data on all places where gold is extracted and how much is extracted per day for the sake of developing the region.

Migori County Executive Committee (CEC) Member in Charge of Environment Caleb Opondi asked the government to assist the local miners in modernising their activities by giving them the right tools.

He also urged that the controversial 6,000-acre land in Nyatike, gazetted as forest land, be returned to the local community.

The chairman of the county artisanal miners and small business groups, Kepha Ojuka, appealed to the government to gazette the Migori artisanal Committee that has taken years to be in place to enable it to start work to promote mining in the region.

He said there are over 20,000 artisanal miners in Migori who make their living from extracting gold and copper.

Earlier on, the Mining PS paid a courtesy call to Migori Governor Ochilo Ayacko, where he announced that the government has vigorously started registration and licensing artisanal miners in the county.

By George Agimba and Polycap Ochieng

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