As the government plans to revive the cashew nut factory in Kilifi, thousands of former workers have staged protests, demanding intervention to secure their pensions and benefits that have been pending since the factory’s closure.

These workers gathered outside the factory gates, hoping to one day receive what is rightfully theirs. Despite following legal channels to claim their millions, their court case has stalled, with the main party responsible being unreachable.

Led by the secretary of the cashew workers’ union, Mr. Douglas Katana, the elderly workers called on the government to step in and ensure they receive their money. Mr. Katana, 74, is the sole surviving leader among those who initially began the fight for justice. He expressed concern that many workers have already passed away and feared their claims might never be settled.

“My colleagues have already died, and if I die today, this money will be lost. I don’t want that to happen. My hope is that the money will be released soon so that the elderly and their families can benefit from their hard work,” said Mr. Katana.

Ms. Hilda Mzungu, who lives with a disability in Kilifi, also urged the government to pay their dues before reviving the cashew nut processing factory. She was employed at the factory at the age of 19 and worked there until it was shut down.

“We were suddenly laid off and left with only Sh100 as an advance on our salaries, and since then, we have suffered. Despite my disability, I am forced to do construction work, carrying stones and cement. The government should not reopen the factory before paying us our money,” said Ms. Mzungu.

Another elderly worker, Mr. Katana Kazungu, expressed his frustration over the mistreatment they endured, which brought many challenges into his life. He mentioned that the workers were dismissed just a day after receiving their salaries.

Lawyer Dennis Kinaro wrote to the Attorney General, requesting intervention to ensure these workers are paid their dues. According to Kinaro, it has been difficult to secure payment for the workers, as the top officials who took over the company have refused to negotiate a settlement.