Some 756 former employees of the troubled African Safari Club Ltd yesterday made another passionate appeal to President Uhuru to intervene and help them get Sh295 million in salary arrears and terminal dues.
The employees, who have been camping at the late owner of the company Karl Rudin's residence in Shanzu since early last year, said they are struggling to survive and feed their families.
They had been working for Rudin for more than 30 years. Fifteen of them have since died, with the latest, Nicodemus Nyamawi having passed on on February 17.
"We have tried everything to get help but the Labour ministry has been taking us round in circles. We don't know what to do anymore," said the former employees' representative Jacob Kalama.
He was speaking at a press conference in the company of Kenya Muslim National Advisory Council chairman Sheikh Juma Ngao in Mombasa yesterday. Ngao said Labour Secretary Kazungu Kambi has been dodging the matter since it was brought to his office.
"I led a delegation to his office in December last year over the matter. But after some time, he started ignoring our calls and not replying to our text messages," said the cleric.
Ngao said they will sue the Labour ministry for failing to protect the rights of the workers. He said Cotu boss Francis Atwoli should also intervene. "We are giving the government 30 days to force Kambi to sell Rudin's property and pay off the workers," Ngao said.
Rudin died in March last year after being sick for some time. He lived in a posh house in Shanzu, which sits on a six-acre land with most of it developed into a forest where he kept snakes and other wild animals including ostriches. It's worth is an estimated Sh250 million.
Before he died, Rudin had promised to pay off the employees after selling some of his property but was dealt a blow when some ex-employees, through the help of a Nairobi-based auctioneering firm, attached nine cars, two boats, and other household items to recoup some Sh137 million in outstanding arrears.
The 270 employees had won a case they filed in 2003 against the company after unfair dismissal. It is not clear who is the administrator of the assets of the late Swiss investor as his children are said to have relocated permanently to Europe after his death.