Delmonte Kenya Ltd, a leading pineapple fruit processor, has taken decisive action by terminating the employment of 250 security guards. This decision comes amidst mounting accusations of human rights violations against the guards.

Wayne Cook, the Acting Deputy Managing Director of the company, defended the move, citing the alarming rate of pineapple theft occurring on Delmonte’s farms. He emphasized that the security guards had been ineffective in curbing criminal activities targeting the plantations.

Cook elaborated in a media statement that Delmonte had conducted a Human Rights Impact Assessment (HRIA), which recommended outsourcing security personnel as a best practice. The aim is to address pineapple theft while maintaining positive community relations.

In accordance with these recommendations, Delmonte Kenya has enlisted the services of G4S Kenya, a reputable security firm known for its expertise in the field. Under the agreement, G4S will deploy 270 trained security personnel tasked with deterring pineapple thieves and fostering positive interactions with the local community.

The dismissal of the security guards prompted protests outside Delmonte’s offices in Thika, where the affected guards voiced their grievances. Led by Willy Zakayo, the former Chief shop steward, they called for government intervention to address their concerns and ensure fair treatment.

Delmonte has been under scrutiny due to allegations of excessive force used by its guards against trespassers caught stealing pineapples. Reports of fatalities and injuries resulting from clashes between guards and trespassers have drawn condemnation from both local and international human rights organizations.

Despite facing criticism, Delmonte has maintained that the violence stemmed from criminal activities by pineapple thieves rather than actions taken by their guards. The company’s decision to partner with G4S reflects its commitment to addressing security challenges while upholding human rights standards.

With over 6,500 direct employees and an additional 28,000 individuals indirectly employed, Delmonte plays a significant role in the local economy.

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