MCAs want firms to give up 1,000 acres for urban projects
‘Even though these farms have created employment for thousands of residents, they have occupied prime land and hindered development,’ says county official
Murang’a MCAs have asked the National Land Commission not to renew leases for companies that own large tracts of land until they agree to give up part of it for development.
The MCAs have passed a motion to ensure the landowners cede at least 1,000 acres to be used for establishing urbanisation programmes.
In a motion tabled by Lands and Physical Planning committee chairman Duncan Njuguna on Wednesday, the MCAs also sought to compel the county government to put in place development programmes that will be undertaken on the land.
He said the land will be used to establish a city that will provide employment to more than 24,000 youths.
Njuguna said the city will have industries, a railway station, a communication centre and higher learning institutions.
The MCAs passed the motion as some multinational companies that have huge tracts of land seek to have their leases renewed.
Del Monte’s land lease is set to expire in 2018, while Kakuzi and other coffee and flower farms will have their leas- es expire in a few years. “Even though these farms have created employment for thousands of residents, they have occupied prime land and hindered development. This forces residents to travel long distances to access social amenities,” Njuguna told the assembly.
He said the industries that will be set up will improve the county’s economy.
Last month, a group of Kandara residents petitioned the assembly to have multinational fruit-processing companies in the area give back 6,000 acres to the community for development.
The members of the Kandara Initiative Caucus said the companies have been of little benefit to the community, despite being in existence for many decades.
Mugoiri MCA Samson Kago said the county does not have sufficient land for industrialisation.
He said the county loses investment opportunities, as it lacks land to allocate investors who want to set up industries.
“These leases are expiring in the next few years and as lawmakers, we need to set the conditions for their renewal to ensure the lives of residents improve,” Kago said.
Leaders from the county led by Governor Mwangi Wairia and Senator Kembi Gitura have also urged the companies to cede part of the land for development.
Murang’a MCAs outside the county chambers. They have passed a motion to ensure some landowners cede at least 1,000 acres for urbanisation programmes