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Why I disagree with the High Court ruling against Del Monte - JUMA HEMEDI.

By Juma Hemedi


I disagree with the high court ruling against Del Monte Company in its quest for renewal of it's lease. I have not yet looked at the detailed ruling but there are individuals already celebrating the ruling in their celebrations they point out that the land should be given back to the people if Murang'a because the products grown are out of reach of common Kenyans in terms of prices and some people have resulted to stealing the products from the Del Monte farms and that Del Monte has not done much towards Corporate social Investment. 

I wish to disagree with the sentiments and the high court ruling because of the following;

1. I hold the view that Del Monte as a company is not in the business of creating thieves and that its mandate is articulated in its instruments of registration. The arguments that are socially being circulated that its because of their prices of their products that some people cant afford that's the reason for stealing does not hold water.

Del Monte has set up shops where one can buy it's products at affordable prices from their shops one located near Blue Post on your way to former Imani International school. 

2. The economies of areas such as Kabati, Kenol, Thika grew from the labour force that had been employed by Del Monte so did the economy of Kakuzi and Ithanga. In Thika estates such as Makongeni phase 10, 11,7,8,5,6,4, grew and developed as a result of Del Monte work force. Kisii estate and by and large landless are also due to labour force of what was known as 'Kenya Canners'.Those who bought land from Umoja estates, muguga were Del Monte employees and some bought and constructed houses in Makongeni phase 13. 

Families in low income estates of Starehe, Ofafa, Majengo, Biafra, have populations of people working in Del Monte and growing Thika economy in terms of rental income, consumer products, transport, affiliate services. Indirectly so many Kenyans from as far as Mombasa benefit from this company in terms of warehousing, clearing and forwarding etc. 

Financial institutions such as banks and SACCO have disbursed loans to Del Monte employees for business, school fees, construction and development. Middle income estates of Makongeni phase 10 and 13 and Kamenu have tenants from Del Monte. Kiganjo too houses a lot of Del Monte employees. This have resulted in the infrastructure development of housing, water and electricity this brings taxes to the economy of our country as well as income for real estate developers. Its net effect is reduction of unemployment. 

Companies such as Nampak kenya sells a big percentage of its packaging Tins to Del Monte creating  more employment through outsourcing services, Kel chemicals sells its water treatment chemicals to Del Monte. A bus company is contracted to ferry employees to and from work. All these companies have employed Kenyans and by far Thika people. 

3. The primary market for Del Monte products is not local it is the European and american markets. And that brings foreign exchange to the country stabilising the Kenyan economy. Kakuzi too has its products for foreign markets. Macadamia companies based in Thika and Murang'a sells their products to foreign markets enabling the farmers and producers to gain good prices for their products. This brings social transformation in families and quality of life. 

4. Del Monte land in Murang'a and Thika is in areas that receive below normal rainfall without the heavy irrigation investment Del Monte has put up in water and environmental conservation it is difficult to grow much in that area. 

5.The Big 4 agenda has manufacturing as its key component to grow the Kenyan economy. Manufacturing without exporting does not make Kenyan goods competitive and enable continuous improvement of goods and services through innovation. 

Del Monte has continued to play its role as corporate citizen through Corporate Social Investment in Education, and environmental conservation, Obviously there is more Del Monte can do and should do. But celebrating a ruling that has a likelihood of making more than 20,000 families directly and twice as much indirectly to loose their source of livelihood is to say the least mockery.

The renewal of leases held by multinationals and other foreign investors that have a concern for community and have created employment and grown the economy in this country should be left to the national Government.

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