Two women who claim to have been raped by security guards at Kenya’s Kakuzi farm have spoken out about their ordeals.
Their claims come as the agribusiness prepares to sue Kenyan human rights groups over what it claims are false allegations of abuse.
According to critics, the Kakuzi lawsuit is an attempt to recoup contracts lost as a result of a UK supermarket boycott.

According to the BBC, the new claims must be investigated, and the company will not tolerate wrongdoers.

Mudhikwa Musau, 88, lives in a village in central Kenya just a few minutes’ walk from the tree-lined perimeter of Kakuzi’s vast farmland.

She claims that in 2009, one of the firm’s security guards raped her. She demonstrates how the alleged assault was carried out in Kamba, the local language.

“I was caught that way, and he was catching me here that way. I was shown around. He got to his feet and stepped on me. He put his foot on my neck. He grabbed my neck and twisted it around. While I screamed, he covered my mouth.”

Mudhikwa Musau claims she went to the police after filing her complaint, but she was turned down. She never heard anything more about the case.

Marium Wanja, 65, has also come forward. She claims she had two children with Kakuzi security guards in the 1990s.

“Kakuzi security guards raped me, and it cost me my marriage,” she explained.

“[My husband] said the second time I was raped, ‘I am now tired.’ I’ve handed you over to Kakuzi’s security guards. ‘Stay with the security guards.'”

Hundreds of shocking allegations have been leveled against Kakuzi guards by members of the local community over the last 30 years. Among the accusations are rapes, assaults, and even murders

Last year, supermarkets in the United Kingdom decided to take action. Tesco, Sainsbury’s, and Lidl have all boycotted Kakuzi, halting all orders for their products.

Female security guards
The claims of human rights violations were brought to the attention of British grocers last October, when the British law firm Leigh Day filed a lawsuit in the English High Court on behalf of 79 Kenyans.The parents of a young man accused of stealing an avocado were among the claimants. Kakuzi security guards allegedly beat him to death.

Former employee David Ndambuki, who fought for better labor rights at the company, says due process should have been followed instead: “For me, that person was supposed to be arrested and taken to court.”

Camellia, Kakuzi’s British parent company, settled the group lawsuit in February, agreeing to a £4.6m ($6.5m) pay-out without admitting or denying any of the allegations.

Kakuzi promised to create a new grievance mechanism, construct new access roads for local villagers, and hire female safety marshals.
In addition, the company hired a private consultancy to conduct an independent human rights assessment. The firm, known as Ibis, told the BBC that it was currently gathering data for its assessment.

However, while Kakuzi has taken steps to address concerns about allegations of human rights violations, it is also suing the Kenya Human Rights Commission and a local NGO referred to as the Ndula Resource Centre

In a joint statement issued when the UK settlement was reached, Kakuzi accuses the groups of making unfounded claims about historical allegations of abuse.

In response to questions from the BBC about why Kakuzi decided to file suit in Kenyan courts after its parent company settled the previous case, the company wrote: “We are asking the Court to order the production of evidence in order to identify the cases and bring perpetrators to justice and prosecute them through the criminal justice system.

“The KHRC has so far refused to provide this evidence, which is a violation of constitutional rights. Furthermore, they continue to distort facts in unrelated cases.

supermarkets in the United Kingdom

In response to the claims made by the two women who spoke to the BBC, Kakuzi stated, “These are very serious allegations, and they, like all allegations, must be taken seriously.” Evidence must be turned over to Kenyan investigators.

“Of course, Kakuzi will fully cooperate in any such process – we do not tolerate wrongdoers in our company or community.”

Kakuzi, which grows nuts, pineapples, timber, and livestock in addition to avocados, says it is looking forward to resuming orders from European customers next season.

While British supermarkets say they haven’t resumed purchasing from Kakuzi, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, and Lidl told the BBC they were keeping an eye on the company to see if improvements in practices were made. “We’re calling on the UK market,” says Mary Kambo of the Kenya Human Rights Commission. “We’re not inviting them to cut and run, but rather to leverage their position as a market.

“[It’s] obviously meant to re-attract the market in the UK, but I’m not sure this is the best way,” she said of Kakuzi’s legal action.

“I believe Kakuzi is causing more harm than good…” The communities will now speak out and say, “We have been harmed.”

Villagers in and around Kakuzi farm will be watching with bated breath to see if the financial might of foreign supermarkets can prompt real change on the ground.

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