How my discovery of crude oil in Turkana County was stolen


At the tail end of a rather colourless state function, Kenya’s third president announced that the country had struck gold – a rich vein of black gold that would play a big role in transforming the country’s fortunes.

The timing couldn’t have been better. For years, the East African powerhouse looked enviously as her neighbours announced oil discoveries in their territories.

This was Kenya’s time to glow. “I have been informed by the minister that our country has made a major breakthrough in oil discovery…this is the beginning of a long journey to make the country an oil producer,” President Kibaki said.

As the announcement was made, an old man’s heart skipped a beat. It was happening again. It seemed he just couldn’t catch a break. In denial, he switched off his television.

“I thought I ought to have been part of the announcement. Perhaps the President didn’t know at the time that I was the one who discovered oil,” Dr Kengar Monena tells The Standard on Sunday.

But, Monena (pictured) says, big money, politics, a compromised Judiciary and insincere lawyers have all colluded or been co-opted into what he says is a grand scheme to keep him off the “fruits of my hard labour”.

Dangerous times Flashback to 1987, when a younger Monena, on a water drilling assignment for a European aid agency, chanced upon a liquid he thought would change his life forever.

“We were drilling a borehole in one of the villages up north. As the drilling went on, we noticed what was gushing out of the hole was different.

It even smelt different, like kerosene, and after a short while, the extracts changed from a clear liquid to a blackish liquid.

At that time I knew it was oil,” Monena says. After that, they moved the drilling to several other places and the results were the same.

He was certain he had struck oil. “I talked to my friends about the find and they convinced me not to tell more people about it,” he says.
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