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Waititu disowns post on Del Monte after public backlash.

Alfred Wanyoike, the chairman Thika District Business Association (TDBA) addressing Thika residents during this year's Madaraka Day celebrations at Thika Sub-County Stadium on Friday where he led the call to denounce the County Government of Kiambu's move to cancel Del Monte Limited leasehold.

Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu (Baba Yao) has disowned a post that had been done on his official Facebook Page on 30th May 2018 saying that his government would not renew the lease for Africa’s biggest pineapple company Del Monte Limited.

In a rejoinder posted on Thika Town Today WhatsApp Group at 4:10am today, the governor alleged that someone faked his Facebook account “to give the wrong impression of my meeting with the Del Monte MD”.

“Somebody faked my Facebook account to give the wrong impression of my meeting with the Del Monte MD where we had a very fruitful meeting. We resolved to form a committee of surveyors from both the Kiambu County government and Del Monte Company to ascertain the amount of idle land that is not in use by the company. We shall hold a meeting thereafter to decide on the way forward,” read the post.

However, the said post was in his official account but was later pulled down after public backlash, with residents castigating this move as retrogressive and misinformed.

The post on the governor's official Facebook page that has caused a lot of jitters among Thika residents. It was later pulled down after public backlash.
During the Madaraka Day celebrations at the Thika Sub-County Stadium, various leaders expressed their disappointment over the manner the issue of Del Monte land lease was being handled, citing that the company had employed so many people in Thika and revoking their leasehold was counterproductive as it will result to more than 7,000 direct job loses.

“If we kill Del Monte, we kill 50% of our (Thika) employment. We should not create a problem (with the leasehold) but should instead prepare a master plan that involves all the stakeholders to map the way forward on the issue of Del Monte,” said Alfred Wanyoike, the chairman Thika District Business Association (TDBA).

Wanyoike said that impact of the cancellation of this leasehold was gross with the resultant cancellation likely to benefit a few people at the expense of the general public.

“We are against the refusal to renew Del Monte leasehold as this is an avenue to create room for a few people to take advantage of the situation to grab land and deny the general public their rights. As the business community and the people of Thika, we refuse to be part of such a scheme,” he added.

His sentiments were echoed by Gladys Chania Mwangi who recalled the history of the company since her childhood saying that almost every citizen in the town has either benefitted from the company or know someone who depended on it.

Del Monte Kenya Limited is a Kenyan food processing company that operates in the cultivation, production and canning of pineapple products. It is Kenya's largest single manufactured exporter of canned pineapple, ranking the country among the top five pineapple exporters in the world.

Formed in 1948 as Kenya Canners, the company produces canned solid pineapple, juice concentrates, mill juice sugar and cattle feed.

Cirio Del Monte Kenya as it is currently known after Cirio Alimentare acquired a 98% stake in the company in 2002, owns a 10,000-acre (40 km²) pineapple plantation and employs approximately 6,000 workers (2006 estimate). 

Approximately 60% of the workforce is female (2004 estimate). 

The company employs three types of employees: permanent staff, seasonal workers and casual laborers.

Permanent staff receive sick pay, holidays, rental assistance, severance pay and have a contract. Seasonal workers earn less and do not receive severance pay, although they also have a contract. Casual labourers receive no benefits and are not covered by a contract.

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