Del Monte managers snub Murang'a lease renewal mediation

Philip Kamau
Kandara Residents Association chairman Philip Kamau. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL 

The long-standing land lease renewal dispute between American fruit processor Del Monte and residents of Kandara Constituency, Murang'a County, looks set to linger on after a deal to settle the matter out-of-court crumbled.

Mediation talks between the two sides failed to take off yesterday after representatives of the juice maker failed to turn up for the meeting.

The National Land Commission (NLC), which was supposed to mediate in the talks, said the deliberations could not go on in the absence of some of the parties in the dispute but did not disclose Del Monte's reasons for failing to turn up for the meeting.

"We would not like as a commission to second-guess on a party. They have their own reasons for skipping the meeting which they have told us in a letter," said Samuel Tororei, an NLC commissioner and chair of the mediation team.

"We will try and see if we can still get this process going, if we don't it won't be for lack of trying." Kandara Residents Association had gone to court in September 2016 to bar the county governments of Murang'a and Kiambu from renewing Del Monte’s leaseholds until the firm cedes 6,000 acres.