According to reports published in the British media, guards working for Kakuzi, a farming estate in Kenya owned by British tycoons, are accused of extreme violence against the local residents.
Since 2009, 79 claims have been made against the farm, with some extreme ones including battering a 28-year-old to death for stealing avocados at the farm.
The farm argued that its crops need to be protected from theft, given avocados are among the most valuable plant crops.
“As we visited the farm, there was an ongoing investigation into allegations that security guards had caused the death of a young man who had reportedly been apprehended on suspicion of stealing avocados,
“Equally, we heard of past incidents in 2014 and 2016, including credible first-hand accounts from women and elderly persons about attacks they had experienced in 2014, from which they still suffered physical and psychological injuries,” reads and excerpt from a report present by the United Nations Human Rights commission in July 2018.
Two years earlier, on September 3, 2016, two journalists sustained injuries after they were allegedly clobbered by Kakuzi company guards during a demonstration in Murang’a county.
The British-owned company has been rapidly expanding its avocado planting to meet increased demands, leading to clashes with locals. Which was what allegedly happened leading up to the battering of journalists.
They were covering a demonstration by Gititu Secondary School students against the company’s move to reclaim 45 acres of land it gave the institution a decade ago.
James Mburu of Nation Media and Julius Kariithi of Royal Media Services said the watchmen who attacked them retreated after the students fled.
In June 2019, Murigi Njogu (a resident in the area) revealed that they all have to walk with passes whenever they move around.
“Our movement is very limited, we have to produce a pass whenever we need to move about, how is that different from the colonial Kipande?” he questioned.
For close to 30 years, communities at Kangangu and Mangoto villages which neighbour the expansive land in Murang’a County, have been at loggerheads with the company.
Kakuzi’s Kent-based parent company, is currently being sued for negligence in failing to prevent the abuse.