20 Sep

Nandi Governor Stephen Sang

The row surrounding expiry of leases for multinationals in tea growing zones in Rift Valley has moved to Parliament after Nandi Governor Stephen Sang tabled a petition for an inquiry.

A similar petition was presented to the National Assembly by Konoin MP Yegon Brighton who wants residents compensated for land lost to multinational tea firm, James Finlay Kenya Limited.

Governor Sang and Mr Yegon want the committee on Lands to investigate historical land injustices with a view to settling squatters on land whose leases have expired or are about to expire.

“The petitioners pray that the National Assembly inquire into the irregular takeover of land with a view to compensate original land owners,” National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi said while notifying MPs of receipt of the petition from Mr Sang.

Mr Muturi said the petitioners want the House to look at historical land injustices in Kenya since colonial government disenfranchised its citizens.

“Nandi people were settled on peripheral land full of escarpments that are prone to perennial landslides. Mr Sang avers that the people of Tinderet, Nandi Hills and Mosop were affected,” he said.

He wants the affected people to be settled on productive land once the leases expires.

Mr Muturi said Mr Sang is seeking the House help to put in place a sound legal framework for efficient, impartial investigations into historical land injustices.

Mr Sang has been battling the multinational tea farmers in a bid to secure parcels of land whose leases have expired to settle residents who claim they were pushed out of the original parcels to pave way for tea plantations.

Some of the multinational firms engaged in large-scale tea production in Kericho and Nandi counties include James Finlays, Sotik Highlands, Tinderet Tea Estate, Nandi Tea Estates and Kaimosi Tea Estates.

Counties from tea growing areas have been demanding that they take over expired land leases against the tea companies that have been in Kenya since the British colonial era.

Nandi and Kericho counties are seeking compensation from the British government over forcible land eviction and massacre of Kipsigis and Nandi communities during the colonial period.

Source: Business Daily