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Farmers protest against tea firm’s closure

By | December 24th 2009

By Philip Ruto and Job Weru

Tea farmers in Kuresoi District held demonstrations to condemn the Government’s plan to allegedly demolish the Kiptagich Tea Factory.

The small-scale farmers, who deliver produce to the factory, argue demolishing the facility would injure their livelihood.

They said besides processing and marketing tea, the factory also employs local youth.

Councillor Simon Chirchir of Kiptagich ward said the factory belongs to the Kuresoi community, despite having been built by former President Moi.

The protests are part of the last minute efforts by residents to save the factory as the second phase of the Mau eviction start next month.

Meanwhile, four MPs have opposed the Government’s compensation plan for Mau evictees.

Post-poll victims

They said the Government should also resettle post-election victims and other squatters evicted from various forests.

MPs Ephraim Maina (Mathira), Kareke Mbiuki (Nithi) Johnstone Muthama (Kagundo) and Kibwezi’s Phillip Kaloki claimed it was wrong to pay those who had grabbed public land.

Mr Maina said some squatters who were evicted from Mt Kenya and Aberdare forests were still living in squalid conditions.

"The Government should first set aside money to resettle other squatters then they can compensate Mau evictees later," said Maina.

Mr Mbiuki urged the Ministry of Lands and the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission to scrutinise title deeds in Mau complex, saying most were not genuine.

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