Case Digest

Del Monte Loses Land Case

An aerial view of pineapples growing at Delmonte Kenya Limited farm. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

The High Court has dismissed a petition by horticultural and fruit processing firm Del Monte seeking to have their leases renewed.

The three judge bench told the Kiambu-based company that it does not have authority to adjudicate the case.

The land case was very emotive with Kandara residents accusing US Ambassador to Kenya Kyle McCarter of interfering with the case and seeking to politicize and extend the hold on the land by Del Monte.

The residents wanted the land adjudicated as per the Public Procurement & Disposal Act of 2015.

“We have made it clear through the court systems and through various letters to relevant stakeholders and government officials that arbitrary renewal of long land leases is illegal and perpetuates historical injustices’, Said Philip Kamau, Chairman, Kandara Residents Association

He continued, ‘In Section 13 of the Land Act 2012, it is clear that foreign companies do not qualify for automatic renewal of leases, and to that end, we have tabled our objections and through the National Land Commission, invited Del Monte for dialogue’.

According to an agreement signed on September 7, 2018 between Governor Waititu; the county government was to renew the lease for another 99 years if Del Monte cedes 690 acres of non-arable land to the county for the expansion of Thika town, the construction of industrial parks, an airport, information and agro-technology complexes and for residential use. A year later, none of these projects has taken off.

Del Monte moved to court to have the case determined and especially to have their lease renewed further, but they have now suffered a blow.

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