Kenya: Murang'a Residents Want Del Monte Fruit Farm Sold to Highest Bidder

23 January 2019

Murang'a County residents have threatened to invade Del Monte land in the county if they are not involved in the process of its lease renewal.

Through Murang'a County representatives group, the residents want the expansive pineapple farm sold to the highest bidder and that they be involved in the decision making process through public participation.

Thirdway Alliance party leader Ekuru Aukot, who is representing the group against Del Monte as a friend, called on the county government to ensure that the firm's lease for the land is not automatically renewed and that residents are given the opportunity to decide the next course of action.

Mr Aukot also appealed to President Uhuru Kenyatta to encourage the taking over of the land by Murang'a County upon the expiry of its lease.\

INJUSTICES

He claimed that the international firm, in its 49 years occupancy of the land, has committed gross human rights violations on its workers, environmental pollution and economic crimes among other injustices.

Dr Aukot stated that Del Monte has continued to conceal the true value of the land and its actual acreage.

He claimed that the land is 28,000 acres yet the firm has continued to lie that it is 21,000 acres.

LEASE TERMS

He also faulted the lease agreement terms where the firm continues to pay Sh12,000 per acre while adjacent land of lesser acreage goes for millions.

"Suing Murang'a governor simply for requesting public participation is an act of impunity by this international company and against international protocols on fair trade. There must be a way Del Monte and the people of Murang'a to drink from the same fountain. It seems to us that the company is bragging of some political protection from the usual local cartels whom we shall smoke out soon," said Mr Aukot.

The former presidential candidate has also criticised arbitrary renewals of most of international land leases, with most set to expire between 2019 and 2022, saying this is a continuation of historical land injustices in the country.

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