Showdown over renewal of Del Monte Kenya Limited land lease has escalated with Thika MP Patrick Wainana demanding Kiambu governor Ferdinand Waititu to keep off the matter.
Even as Waititu maintained that he had formed a committee of surveyors from both Kiambu County and the company to ascertain the amount of idle land before holding a meeting to decide on the way forward, the MP says that Waititu has no role in renewal of land leases.
“It is my job as a politician to hunt for my people and I have started the process. I hunt first before I involve you in deciding what you want to do with the land,” Waititu said at Thika Starehe grounds during the launch of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a few weeks ago.
Wainaina said that the mandate of renewing land leases lies with the National Land Commission which he said is fully funded to carry out its operations.
The MP who is a member of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives committee in parliament and who spoke to press after holding a meeting with Thika pastors assured the fruit-processing firm that the national government would renew its lease which expires next year.
He said that the company had employed 7,000 Kenyans who fear for their livelihoods if the lease is not renewed.
He said that the impact of the firm which has been operating for over 70 years is evident adding that other countries were salivating to have the services of Del Monte extended to them.
The legislator who has been silent on the matter told Waititu to stop politicizing the land matter and instead take his political theatrics to other insensitive sectors.
“Del Monte is not a small company to be threatened by powerless individuals. Am afraid it might take its services to other countries which are salivating to have it,” he said.
“If you want a land, trace one along Garissa road. There are many parcels of land lying idle and which you can utilize,” he added.
Thika pastors said that a time to take their political stand had come citing it as a paradigm shift which will push to have a smooth flow of developments.
“There is an individual we know; when he traces where an idle land in Thika, he immediately goes and grabs it. There is need for us brethren to take our stand as far as political leadership is concerned. It begins with our conscious. If our conscious can be alive to the reality of our times and to that what is required, our country can make positive development strides,” said Bishop Julius Njuguna Wanyoike of Anglican Churches of Kenya (ACK).