All public amenities located within land belonging to a horticultural company in Murang’a are set to get title deeds.
The National Lands Commission has directed that schools, health centres, police stations among others which are located within the farm of Kakuzi Fruits Company limited get land ownership documents.
Neighbouring communities to Kakuzi farm, for many years, have been struggling to access the amenities after the company blocked public routes forcing residents to walk for long distances.
Intervention from Kenya Human Rights Commission has seen the grievances of the local residents given priority, with NLC saying the process of getting the title deeds should be hastened.
The titles will avert incidences of conflict between locals and the company such as protests that turned violent in 2016 as locals demonstrated against the firm’s decision to reclaim land it had given to Kitito secondary school.
The amenities earmarked to get title deeds include Kinyangi, Kakuzi and Kitito primary schools, Kitito secondary school, Kinyangi health centre, Gituamba police station and Kimiriri police patrol base, Kitito and Kituamba trading centres, Kinyangi chief’s office and Kitito chief’s camp.
Speaking during a meeting at Kinyangi market on Monday, KHRC Executive Director, George Kegoro castigated multinational companies which exploit their workers and mistreat surrounding communities.
Kegoro noted that such companies use dubious means to acquire required licenses to export their produce saying KHRC will move to bar such companies which exploit their workers and mistreat neighbouring communities.
Kegoro cited Kakuzi Company that he noted had gotten the Rainforest Alliance Certification to sell avocadoes internationally without disclosing the challenges it has been exposing to local residents.
Residents however demanded for a public apology from the company despite the move to have the amenities get title deeds.
A resident, Swaleh Githinji said there is evidence that has been tabled before NLC that indicates that about 50,000 acres of land occupied by the company belonged to their fore fathers.
He demanded for compensation for all properties that locals lost to colonialists and a guarantee for non-repetition of the oppressions by the company.
Former Subukia MP, Koigi Wamwere who attended the meeting on his part challenged President Uhuru Kenyatta to push for all foreign companies to honor human rights.
By Bernard Munyao