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Kakuzi demands identity of the alleged victims revealed

By Wangari Njuguna
Wednesday, October 14th, 2020
Wilson Opiyo the Corporate Affairs manager in Kakuzi
In summary
    • Wilson Opiyo, the head of corporate affairs at Kakuzi company on Wednesday said they are not in a position to answer the allegations against them without knowing the people involved.

Wangari Njuguna and Njange Maina

Murang'a based Kakuzi PLC has demanded to identify the victims of the human rights abuse, allegedly assaulted by its security guards as accused by UK law firm Leigh Day.

The agricultural entity that has been accused by UK firms of perpetrating murders and assault in its Murang'a farms has been a recent subject of criticism after the allegations were published by the Sunday Times.

Wilson Opiyo, the head of corporate affairs at Kakuzi company on Wednesday said they are not in a position to answer the allegations against them without knowing the people involved.

"How are we expected to solve a problem with people who are not known to us?" he posed.

Addressing the press on Wednesday, Opiyo, however, refuted claims of any brutality to the surrounding community saying the company does not cordon abuse of human rights.

He said the company has an internal mechanism to settle civil disputes while the police handle criminal cases arising from its farms.

"We are open for any investigation and we have not covered up anything as it is being purported," he said.

He, however, admitted that there has been some issues in the past ,but most of them are resolved and the company put up measures to reduce conflict with the neighboring community.

"Most issues revolved around the workers but have since been resolved internally," he added.

Opiyo said Ethical Trading Initiative had raised the issue with them and together they came up with a work plan on how to enhance working relationships.

He said the Kenya National Commission for Human Right has also been on board.

The officer said they are waiting for an investigation by the Director of Public Prosecutions to know the way forward.

"We are willing to get to the bottom of this matter if we are presented with the right facts," he added.

A law firm in the UK filed a case against Kakuzi on behalf of 79 Kenyans who claim to be victims of violation of human rights perpetrated by Kakuzi's guards.

The case saw UKs largest supermarket Tesco suspend the intake of Kakuzi's avocados.

The move is bound to affect over 3000 small scale farmers who have a contract with Kakuzi to supply the fruits.

Opiyo said they are working to have the stalemate resolved and the business to resume soonest possible.

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