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Britain’s Largest Supermarket Tesco Maintains Kakuzi Ban

Kakuzi
[PHOTO/ COURTESY]

Murang’a-based agriculture firm Kakuzi is yet to get a nod to supply avocados to Britain’s largest supermarket, Tesco.

This follows a ban instituted by Tesco to Kakuzi on October 11, 2020, following reports of assault and sexual misconduct by some Kakuzi employees.

Kakuzi, for over a year now, has been unable to tap into the expansive market share enjoyed by Tesco which operates over 3,961 grocery stores in the UK and Ireland.

In April, Kakuzi took to court the Kenya National Human Rights Commission (KHRC) and Ndura Resource Center (NRC) over human rights abuse reports.

Read: Kakuzi Sues KHRC, NRC Over Human Rights Abuse Reports

The two lobby groups led investigations against Kakuzi guards in Kenya who are said to have perpetrated rape, killings, and abuses in the Makuyu farm.

The investigation reports by the two farms were used to sue Camellia PLC, Kakuzi’s parent company, in the UK which yielded Ksh696 million as compensation.

Camellia was accused of turning a blind eye to accusations of rape, killings, attacks, false imprisonment, and mistreatment perpetrated by Kakuzi for a period of 11 years.

Among those whose rights were violated include 10 women and girls, including two who are underage and a young man who was allegedly clobbered to death by the guards.

Read: Second UK Supermarket Suspends Avocado Supplies From Kakuzi

In six months to June 2021, the value of avocado supplies by Kakuzi to the UK and other countries in Europe dropped to Ksh137.2 million, a 52.88 percent dip as compared to Ksh291.2 million supplied in the first half of 2020.

Kakuzi recorded a net profit of Ksh194.6 million for the first half of 2021, a 28.6 percent compared to Ksh272.8 million recorded in a similar period in 2020.

In August, Kakuzi announced the appointment of an Independent Human Rights Advisory Committee (IHRAC) to be chaired by former Attorney General Prof Githu Muigai.

Speaking when he confirmed the appointment of the IHRAC, Kakuzi PLC Managing Director Chris Flowers said the committee would provide independent technical advisory to the firm’s Board of Directors. He said such technical advisory and expertise would guarantee sustainable compliance with global human rights matters across the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) listed firm’s operations.

Read: UK Company Camellia Faces Legal Claim In London Over Alleged Human Rights Abuses By Kakuzi

Alongside the IHRAC body, Kakuzi, he said, has also enacted an Operational-level Grievance Mechanism also benchmarked against the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

Members of the Prof Githu chaired IHRAC, include former Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) Board Member Grace Madoka, former Finlays Kenya Legal and HR Director Dr Brenda Achieng, and Kakuzi Plc non-executive independent director Andrew Ndegwa with another member set to be announced soon.

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Written by Francis Muli

Follow me on Twitter @francismuli_. Email francis@kahawatungu.com

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