Disgruntled casual workers contracted at one of Deputy President William Ruto’s vast chain of businesses have come out to protest mistreatment and poor pay.
Speaking to the press on Monday, 11th April 2022, the striking employees assigned to Kisima Farm – a ranch linked to the UDA Party leader in Mata village, Taita Taveta County – laid charges against the management for unlawfully failing to remit their salaries for over six weeks.
“We are tired of fake promises.
We see that business is going on well and the company is not facing any financial crisis.
We will not return to work until our salaries are paid,” one angrily noted.
Others expressed their dissatisfaction with the current wage programme, where the labourers earn a meagre Sh300 to Sh500 for a day’s worth of work.
On top of that, the employees raised an issue with the farm’s foreign manager Arie Dempers whom they accused of mistreating members of the native workforce.
“He tells us that if we don’t want to work we should leave. He is very hostile to the workers,” another witness added.
Past records portray Mr Dempers as a rogue authoritarian with very questionable character traits.
The manager was also at one time accused of diverting water meant for public use onto the farm, denying the neighbouring community the precious commodity.
Workers are said to strongly mistrust him because he always betrays them by violating any agreements reached.
Some have never been absorbed as permanent employees despite endless years of service.
They have blamed Mr Dempers for being non-committal to the matter.
“I have been a casual worker all those years but there are no hopes of being employed permanently.
The management is non-committal on this matter,” they noted.
DP Ruto bought the multimillion ranch from former Taveta MP Basil Criticos and has been reported to be rearing livestock on the farm.
Criticos, a Kenyan of European descent, is one of the largest landowners in Taita Taveta alongside the Kenyatta family.
He has since shed off some of the land to other ranch owners and also donated a thousand acres to deal with squatters who have for years invaded his expansive farms.
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