Top Stories / Counties
Saturday, 16 Jul 2016 18:45 EATnewsdesk@kenyafreepress.com
The recent closure of Karuturi flower company in Naivasha has left thousands of families destitute, with many deaths from starvation recorded along with other challenges.
Union leaders and local politicians say that scores of students whose parents and guardians depended on the company's jobs for their sustenance have dropped out of school. The most affected areas is South Lake Naivasha where many of the Karaturi workers stayed.
Addressing former Karaturi workers last week, county representative Peter Pallang’a revealed that five former Karaturi workers have died since the firm went under in April. He said some of the workers had been knocked down by speeding cars or starved to death in their houses.
The farm's chief shop-steward from the Kenya Plantation and Agricultural Workers Union, Samson Ounda Adayo, said that the workers were owed Sh227m by the farm whose value stood at Sh10B.
“Our biggest challenge is the slow manner in which the court is treating this case as the waiting workers who have no other source of livelihood continue to suffer,” he said.
The workers said they would not leave the farm until all their dues were paid. “We are asking President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy to intervene before we and our children die due to the suffering we are undergoing,” said Edna Nafula, an affected worker.
Naivasha businessman Antony Rebo Ngure and nominated county rep Esther Njeri, who were touched by the plight of struggling families, distributed foodstuff to some families last week. The event saw some former workers tell harrowing experiences, including young girls who had turned to prostitution to make ends meet.
“So many youths have dropped out of school," Ngure said, and urged other flower farms in the region to employ the former Karaturi workers.
“We are urging employers from nearby farms to consider these workers as the situation has deteriorated to worrying levels with tens of families sleeping hungry,” she said.
Njeri urged the Nakuru county government to provide emergency funds to help the families recover from financial stress.
“The closure of the farm marks the darkest moment for Naivasha with tens of families suffering for other people’s mistake and its time their dues were settled,” decried Njeri, who said that some men were now taking advantage of the suffering women and minors and abusing them sexually.