The controversy surrounding the renewal of Del Monte Limited land lease will now be determined by Parliament after some residents petitioned the House to revoke it.
In the petition submitted by Philip Njuguna on behalf of Kandara Residents Association, the petitioners claim they are the original owners of land presently occupied by Del Monte Kenya Limited but were illegally displaced and the 33,000 acres piece of land was leased to the company.
The petitioners aver that, in anticipation of expiry of the lease, the County Government of Murang’a irregularly renewed the lease in favour of the firm.
The petitioners argue that the county government acted contrary to the law which provides that, at the expiry of a leasehold tenure, the National Land Commission (NLC) shall inform the lessee of his or her pre-emptive right to allocation of the land upon application, provided that the lessee is a Kenyan citizen, and the land is not required by the National or County Government for public purposes.
They opine that by proceeding to unilaterally renew the lease, the County Government not only usurped the exclusive power vested in the NLC to renew leases but also side-stepped the constitutional principle of public participation to determine whether the public also had an interest in the land.