alexa Cede land, MP tells Del Monte - Daily Nation

Cede land, MP tells Del Monte

Wednesday May 31 2000

By NATION Reporters

The Del Monte company was yesterday asked to surrender at least 1,000 acres of land for the resettlement of squatters.

While reacting to reports that a man was mauled to death by the company security dogs, Kabete MP Paul Muite urged the company to cooperate in resettling the landless "or else other options will be pursued."

Meanwhile, Juja MP Mr Stephen Ndicho announced that Thika residents would hold a demonstration in the town to protest the killing and mistreatment of residents by guards of the pineapple processing company.

Speaking at Parliament Buildings yesterday, Mr Ndicho said area leaders would mobilise the people to express their disgust about the inhumane treatment meted against two men at the farm based in Thika.

The body of Benson Miaka Maina was found at the Thika District Hospital last Thursday after he had gone missing for 10 days. Another man was injured and is recovering at the hospital.

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A man who is recovering at the hospital from severe injuries said guards at the farm unleashed dogs on him and the deceased, injuring them severely, when they went to the farm to eat pineapples.

Yesterday, Mr Ndicho urged Kenyans and the international community to boycott Del Monte products, to protest the multi-national's human rights abuses.

Mr Ndicho, the area MP, said the community would institute private proceedings against the multi-national "because we have realised it must be stopped from these abuses now at any rate.''

"It is obvious that this company is encouraging the killing and mistreatment of our people. When these guards take the law into their hands without the management raising a finger, what message do they want to send to Kenyans,'' the Social Democratic Party Mp wondered.

At the same time, the Kenya Human Rights Commission called for the immediate arrest and prosecution of the guards.

Mr Muite said in a statement: "I write to ask whether you will cooperate in the resettlement of the landless by surrendering at least 1000 acres of your under utilised land."

The MP said Safina supporters were among the landless and poor neighbouring the fruit company.

Mr Muite condemned the vicious attack on two men and accused the government for complacency.

KHRC programme officer Mr, James Nduko asked the government to state its stand following human rights abuses that has characterised Del Monte.

He said: "KHRC takes note of the notoriety of the Del Monte security system in dealing with alleged farm trespassers or pineapple thieves. In the past it unleashed dogs on a nine year-old who was mauled to death in the name of protecting private property."

Thika police division boss, Mr Peter Mwangi said an inquiry will be opened and action taken against the guards if they are implicated in Mr Maina's death.