NLC, county have 7 days to respond over Del Monte lease row


Counties

A Del Monte products shop in Thika. PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU | NMG 

The Murang’a County government and the National Land Commission have seven days to respond to an application seeking conservatory orders to block the renewal of Del Monte company’s leasehold.

Petitioners Ephantus Githae and James Mwangi are seeking court orders to block the renewal of Del Monte’s leasehold on land in the county.

They instead the court to compel the county government and the NLC to place local and international bids upon expiry of Del Monte’s leasehold in order to attract competitive bids.

Through the competitive bids, the petitioners say, would get the potential investors to express how Murang’a County would benefit when they get the leasehold.

Environment and Land Court (ELC) Judge Grace Kemei directed the parties to resume in court on December 3 for further directions on the application.

The judge directed NLC and Murang’a County Government to file replying affidavits on the application made by the petitioners in seven days

Through their lawyer, Omondi Samuel Ogutu, the petitioners want the court to hear and determine the suit urgently so that the rule of law is upheld when leasing the land to suitable interested parties.

“It’s our clients desire and demand on behalf of the communities residing in the areas covered by the parcels under reference, that at the expiry of leases over the parcels, allocation of parcels be done in line with provisions of the Public Provisions Disposal Act no 3 of 2005 where bids are invited and persons interested come forth competitively to take part on the process of allocation,” the petition, dated November 5, said.

They were apprehensive that the Murang’a government and the NLC would proceed to effect the extension of the leases to Del Monte Company in the absence of any public bidding.

Del Monte faces a separate ongoing case where locals from Kandara Sub-County under the Kandara Residents Association, are demanding 6000 acres which they claim was grabbed from their forefathers by white settlers.

Mediation between the parties involved at the court flopped last week as Del Monte lawyers did not show up at the National Land Commission where dialogue was to take place.

Judge Kemei had ordered that the parties to report to court on November 21 to report the progress of the mediation.

The fruit company is also facing another law suit in Nairobi with the Murang’a County government demanding that the company cedes 3,000 acres for an industrial city at Kabati.

By Kenyan Digest

The Kenyan Digest Team