Ruto targets tea firms in land row

Deputy President William Ruto issues a title deed to a resident of Bonjoge in Aldai, Nandi County, yesterday. The DP issued title deeds to 1,000 residents. [photo: DPPS]

Multinational tea companies have been asked to surrender between 300 and 500 acres of land for the expansion of Kericho town into a modern city.

Deputy President William Ruto yesterday asked Kericho Governor Paul Chepkwony and Members of the County Assembly (MCAs), and the Speaker Kiptergech Mutai, to begin the legal process of compulsory acquisition of the land bordering Kericho town.

The land belongs to Unilever and James Finlays tea companies.

County Bill

“There is no room for expansion of Kericho town. This is why the national government is ready to work with the county government to compulsorily acquire the land for that purpose. The county government must therefore begin the process by presenting a Bill to the County Assembly for the compulsory acquisition of land leased to the tea companies,” said Ruto.

He was speaking at Keongo Primary School grounds in Ainamoi Constituency where he presented cheques from Youth Fund and the Kericho County Government Enterprise Fund to women and youth groups. The beneficiaries were selected after a rigorous business training programme organised by the office of Kericho Senator Aaron Cheruiyot.


Ruto assured the the two tea companies that the government will compensate them for the land, which is currently under tea plantation.

“The government is going to look for the money to buy the pieces of land so that proper planning of a modern city can immediately begin. The construction of the modern city will be done by local architects and engineers and the national government will offer all the necessary assistance,” he said.

The DP said the Government will reject CORD’s plan to amend the Constitution and re-introduce the office of the Prime Minister.

“We have information that the Opposition has plans to change the law so as to create more positions of power. Besides the office of the Prime Minister, I hear the Deputy Prime Minister positions will be about five so that they can be shared out among the big names in the Opposition,” he said. The DP said the Government will only accept a constitutional amendment if it will provide job opportunities to young people, instead of creating positions for a “few rich people”.

Energy Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter said Kericho County had received Sh400 million in Phase I of the Last Mile electricity connection programme and was set to receive an additional Sh600 million for Phase II.

“By June next year, 70 per cent of Kericho County residents will have benefited from the programme,” said Keter.

Other leaders in the rally were Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen and a number of MPs.

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