No end in sight in Del Monte land dispute as ministry delays resurvey
The raging land dispute pitting Del Monte Kenya and residents of Kiambu and Murang’a counties is far from over after the Lands ministry failed to re-survey the property as directed by Parliament.
The National Assembly’s Lands Committee directed the ministry to immediately conduct a fresh survey of land held by Del Monte in Murang’a and Kiambu counties within 90 days with a view of determining the total acreage.
The matter was a subject of discussion in the House yesterday after Thika MP Patrick Wainaina sought to know the status of Del Monte’s application for renewal of its land lease.
“Are there plans to carry out forensic audit of all land leased by Del Monte with a view to establish the status of used land, unused and public land?” he asked.
Parliament had also asked National Land Commission (NLC) to commence investigations into the circumstances under which the firm is alleged to have acquired four parcels of land totalling to 7,400 acres.
The four parcels are said to have been surrendered to the government by two companies trading as Sassa Coffee and Rappit B Limited.
The Lands committee chaired by Rachael Nyamai made the recommendations following a petition filed by Philip Njuguna on behalf of Kandara Residents Association.
The petitioner asked Parliament to investigate what he termed irregular renewal of leases of Del Monte land.
The residents are pushing for the juice processor to cede part of the land, arguing that it owns 22,000 acres out of which 13,000 are under use by the company while the rest is lying idle.
Wainaina also wants the committee to establish when the timelines for renewal of De Monte land lease will be determined to enable the company to plan its operations.
“This delay is negatively affecting the company’s operations, employees, suppliers as well as the livelihood of thousands of families that rely on the company,” he said.
Del Monte’s land lease expires in 2022.