Kiambu Mps want Del Monte land lease application expedited

Written By: Hunja Macharia/Antony Kioko
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Leaders from Kiambu and Murang’a now want the director of survey to expedite the re-surveying of Del Monte Land whose 99-year lease expires in 2022.

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The MPs who were on a tour of the land said delays by the director of survey to have the land surveyed could lead to loss of at least 34,000 jobs directly and indirectly especially if the company’s land lease is not renewed.

They also regretted that the delay in renewing the lease even after Del Monte applied for the same 12 years ago could see the country lose Ksh 10 billion in foreign exchange including Ksh 7.5 billion on supplier’s backward linkage.

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Led by Thika Town MP Patrick Wainaina, Gatanga MP Joseph Nduati, Ruiru MP Simon King’ara and Kiambu Town MP Jude Njomo the leaders said the delay in renewing the lease has affected the multi-million company’s investment decisions and development.

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They further regretted that failure by the Government to renew the company’s lease could hurt Free Trade Agreement that Kenya has over the time enjoyed with American government.

Their sentiments come weeks after President Uhuru Kenyatta directed the Ministry of Lands to arbitrate the lease dispute pitting the company, Murang’a and Kiambu county residents.

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The protracted land dispute pitting the counties and some residents over thousands of hectares it farms in the former Central Province has dragged for years.

The company that enjoys a turnover of over Ksh 10 billion annually owns 22,000 acres of land.

The MPs said they don’t understand why the director of survey has delayed the process of determining how many acres of land the company is sitting on despite receiving instructions from Parliament and the National Lands Commission.

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Should the company be found to be having land it does not use, Wainaina said the parcels would be converted into public use where an industrial park, schools, cottage industries, low-cost housing and hospitals could be built to benefit the public.

The multinational company has been embroiled in a tussle with lobbyists under the patronage of the Kandara Residents Association, Kiambu and Murang’a Counties.

The association, chaired by Mr Phillip Kamau is demanding that between 5,000 and 8,000 acres be expunged from the company’s hold and handed back to them.

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