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NLC, Murang’a get one week to reply to Del Monte leasehold renewal suit




A Del Monte shop in Thika. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Muranga county government and the National Land Commission (NLC) have seven days to submit their response to an application filed by two petitioners seeking orders to block the renewal of Del Monte leasehold.

The petitioners Ephantus Githae and James Mwangi moved to court seeking court to block the renewal of Del Monte Company leasehold.

Environment and Land Court Judge Grace Kemei directed the parties to return to court on December 3, for further directions on the application.

The petitioners want the respondents upon expiry of the leasehold of the multinational fruit processing company, to place international and local bids with an aim of getting investors who would detail how the county would be benefit when they get the leasehold.

Through their lawyer Omondi Samuel Ogutu they want the court to hear and determine the suit urgently.

“’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 county government and the NLC would proceed to effect the extension of the leases to Del Monte Company in the absence of any public bidding, which they said was contrary to the desires of the residents of Murang’a.

Thika-based Justice Lucy Gacheru while certifying the matter as urgent transferred the matter to her colleague at Murang’a for further directions on November 21.

Del Monte’s woes seem to be far from over as locals from Kandara Sub-County under Kandara Residents Association have an ongoing case against the company where they are demanding 6,000 acres of land, that they claim were grabbed from their forefathers during the colonial era.

Mediation efforts flopped last week as Del Monte lawyers did not show up at NLC offices where dialogue was to take place.

Justice Kemei had ordered that the parties report to court on November 12 to report the progress of the court.