Kakuzi fights off locals’ claim on its prime land
NSE-listed agricultural firm Kakuzi Plc #ticker:KUKZ has moved to the High court seeking to declare unconstitutional a clause in the Land Act that gives power to National Land Commission to deal with historical injustices as it seeks to keep at bay a group that is seeking to reclaim its 39,323 acres.
The group argues that Kakuzi was their ancestral land from which they were displaced by the colonial government.
The group is asking the NLC to admit their case as historical land injustices and order that the properties revert to them. NLC has set hearing a date for the case which Kakuzi wants suspended.
“Pending the hearing and determination of the constitutional petition by the applicants herein, this honorable court be pleased to grant conservatory orders staying the proceedings before the second respondent (NLC) in Nairobi, NLC/HLI/006/2017 being a historical land injustice complaint filed by the interested party,” reads one of the orders sought by Kakuzi.
Kakuzi is challenging Section 15 (3) (b) (i) of the NLC Act which permits the commission to admit and investigate claims that arose out of legally protected acts at the time the challenged actions happened and sections15 (3) (b) (ii) that allows NLC to investigate time bared claims.
Kakuzi claims that since it has no access to the evidence and witnesses to put up a robust defense against the allegations that happened during colonial times hence infringing on their constitutional rights of fair hearing.
The firm argues that constitution prohibits parliament from enacting laws that permits state or any other individual from arbitrarily depriving a person’s interest in a property.
The firm notes that it acquired the properties L. R NO 11674 and L.R.No 10731 on which it carries out agricultural business in 1966 and 1963.
The petitioner in their claim filed with the commission claim that they were forcefully evicted from their land by colonialists who burnt their houses, confiscated their animals and left the destitute.
But they argue that at the independence instead of reverting the land to their original owners the land was allocated to other individuals and companies.
But the firm claim that it has invested heavily in the farm and support the economy of the Muranga County and the country by extension which will be destabilized if the group’s plea is granted.