Kiambu County Governor Ferdinand Waititu is in the eye of a storm over his decision ruling out renewal of Del Monte’s land lease.
A section of county leaders has expressed their discontentment with Waititu’s decision.
The Governor in a post on Facebook noted that “…we held a consultative meeting with Del Monte Kenya Limited Managing Director Stergios Gkaliamoutsas where we discussed over county expansion plan that has been influenced by the highest growth rates in our industrial town of Thika.”
“In this regard, my administration has declined to extend land leased to Del Monte for another term,” he said. “We shall use the said land for the expansion of Thika Town which is ranked among the fast-growing towns in the country.”
However, Kiambu-based politician Gladys Chania lamented Waititu’s decision citing there are myriad problems that could be fanned by the county’s decision not to extend Del Monte’s land lease.
Chania said unemployment, insecurity, poverty, and retrogression in economic growth are just about to be realized if the county government does not rescind its decision.
“In Thika, I would wish the county government of Kiambu through its Trade ministry revived all stalled industries and factories than closing down one mega economic powerhouse, Del Monte,” said Chania.
She asked where the majority of Del Monte workers who form the backbone of residents living in Makongeni’s Estate from phase 4 to 13 and also in areas like Kiganjo, Kisii, Landless and Ndula will go once Del Monte closes its operations.
“Where do they go? What do they do? Let’s have stakeholders and public participation on such weighty matters. Let the county government valuably use the already free land elsewhere and stop interfering with an already functioning company,” opined Chania.
She noted Waititu’s decision was against President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four agenda which champions for the creation of employment and creation of 500, 000 new homes for Kenyans.
“The President’s Big Four agenda cannot be achieved if we create more unemployment. Part of Thika’s development in housing, infrastructure, and education is attributed to Del Monte.”
“We cannot tolerate economic sabotage from our own government. If any worker gets laid off because of the county government’s disruption of industries, we shall be on it badly, “warned Chania.
Former Ting’ang’a ward representative Lawrence Mwaura alias Mwaura Napoleon said that “Del Monte land in more agricultural than industrial and there’s need to protect agricultural land. The whole saga is bestowed on greed and has nothing to do with the expansion of Thika Town.”