Four in protests over Del Monte land arraigned in Kandara

Thursday May 16 2019

Kandara Residents Association

Members of Kandara Residents Association protesting along the Nyeri-Nairobi highway on May 15, 2019. Four of them were arrested and arraigned on May 16, 2019. The case will be mentioned on May 20. PHOTO | NDUNG'U GACHANE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

NDUNG'U GACHANE
By NDUNG'U GACHANE
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Four members of Kandara Residents Association in Murang’a County have been charged at the Kandara Law Courts following demonstration which they held along the Nyeri-Nairobi highway.

They were charged with illegal assembly and incitement to violence.

led by a Kandara politician Phillip Kamau alias PMG, the protestors were arrested on Wednesday evening after holding protests that saw the busy Thika-Kabati road closed.

They burnt tyres protesting over a land row with pineapple farm Del Monte, claiming that there is a plot by the county governments of Kiambu and Murang’a to lock them out of negotiations with the company’s world chairperson who is expected in the country.

BLOCKED HIGHWAY

The over 500 members paralysed the transport along the busy highway before police dispersed them using tear gas.

During the demos, the protestors accused the company if occupying over 7,400 acres of land illegally, which they claim was surrendered to the government in 1973 but the company has not listed the land in court documents.

“We have done an independent survey and we have found that the company still occupies 7,400 acres of land which they have not listed in court documents,” Mr Kamau claimed before he was arrested.

He was arrested together with Mr Samuel Ndung’u Kimani, Geoffrey Gichobe Kairu and Danson Wathungu Kimani on Wednesday and arraigned on Thursday.

UNWELL

While the three denied the charges, Mr Kamau did not take plea as he told the court that he was unwell and needed to first seek treatment.

The matter will be mentioned on May 20 when Mr Kamau, who heads the lobby group, is expected to take plea.

The association has locked horns with Del Monte claiming that part of 7,000 acres of land the company uses was grabbed from their forefathers.

According to a suit filed at the Murang’a Environment and Land Court, the association wants the National Land Commission and Murang’a and Kiambu county governments blocked from renewing the leasehold of the multi-national fruit processing company until it cedes part of its land to them.

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