Protests at DP Ruto's Kisima farm over delayed payment to casuals

Casual workers protest at Kisima Farm in Mata village, Taita Taveta County over delays in payment of their wages on April 11, 2022. The farm is associated with Deputy President William Ruto.



Operations on a farm associated with Deputy President William Ruto in Mata village, Taita Taveta County, have been paralysed after casual workers went on strike, protesting non-payment of their wages. 

On Monday, the workers held a protest at the Kisima farm's gate, claiming they had not been paid for six weeks. 

Those who spoke to Nation.Africa said they were fed up with empty promises from the farm’s management.  

Some of the workers said they had been promised to be paid but they vowed to continue with their strike until they are paid.  

Mr Alex Saidi said farm managers had piled salary arrears without explaining to workers what was happening. 

Protests at DP Ruto's Kisima farm over delayed payment to casuals

"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," he said. 

Mr Fred Mashauri, another worker, decried low pay. He said that though he had worked on the farm for five years, he was yet to be absorbed as a permanent employee. 

He said workers’ daily wages range from Sh300 to Sh500. 

Non-committal

"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," he said. 

He also complained about alleged inhumane treatment from manager Arie Dempers.  

Mr Mashauri said workers had tried in vain to get the company to pay them on time, adding that the manager always violated his part of the bargain. 

"He tells us that if we don't want to work we should leave. He is very hostile to the workers," he claimed. 

In 2019, Mr Dempers was arrested by police for storming into a local mosque armed with a rifle, disrupting a prayer service.  

In 2020, the manager was also accused of diverting water meant for public use onto the farm, denying the neighbouring community the precious commodity.  

Mr Dempers did not respond to the Nation’s calls and messages sent to his phone. 

The 1,000-acre farm was purchased from former Taveta MP Basil Criticos. The farm grows maize and rears cattle.  

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