Counties and fruit company contest lawsuit

A resident's association is seeking an injunction to stop the renewal of a multinational company's land 99-year leases. 

The Kandara Residents Association told the Murang’a Environment and Land Court that the order was necessary to stop negotiations between Murang’a and Kiambu counties and Del Monte Kenya Limited in regard to renewing the 99-year leases for the land.

“We are praying that the court issues orders to restrain the respondents from renewing the leases of land unless there is involvement of the locals through public participation,” said the association's lawyer, Duncan Okatch.

Mr Okatch told Judge Grace Kemei that negotiations were going on to hive off 650 acres for the Murang’a County government.

But lawyers representing Del Monte, the Kiambu County government and the National Land Commission opposed the application, saying it was in bad faith because there were no negotiations taking place as alleged.

The court ruled that the matter would be heard on July 31 for further directions.

“For now there will be no orders to be issued and parties involved have 14 days to submit their replies,” ruled Justice Kemei.

Residents of Lower Kandara have been in a decades-long battle with Del Monte, demanding to recover 6,000 acres of land they claim were taken away from their forefathers by white settlers to plant sisal before the company turned to pineapple growing.