The British company owns subsidiaries in Malawi and in Kenya where agriculture continues to be the mainstay of many women. Photo Credit: David Njagi via AllAfrica.com
At least, 85 women in the East African nations of Kenya and Malawi will be compensated with $9.7 million in a settlement reached by Camellia Group, a British umbrella corporation whose subsidiaries in the two countries hired guards who allegedly abused and assaulted the women.
Kakuzi PLC in Kenya and EPM in Malawi were sued in a London High Court in 2020 by the women who said guards of the companies raped and beat them and killed others, as well. Both companies are into the production of tea, avocado among others. Kakuzi is located in northern Kenyan while EPM is in the south of Malawi.
As part of the settlement, $6.3 million will be awarded to the Kenyan women while about $3.2 million goes to the Malawian contingent. Fresh foods news platform FreshPlaza reports that Camellia also secured a deal in the settlement where no similar further cases in the near future could be brought against it by the law firm that made the case on behalf of the women, Leigh Day.
However, a lawyer with Leigh Day, Daniel Leader said “[T]he settlement the parties have reached provides individual compensation for the claimants, who demanded damages as victims of human rights abuses.”
Apart from vowing to clean its house, Camellia has also reportedly agreed to invest in socio-economic amenities in the two towns in which their companies are found. This move is also intended to repair communal trust that was already fragile before the human rights case was filed.
Kakuzi was founded in 1906 under colonial auspices. For decades, locals have demanded compensation for what they say was their forceful eviction from communal lands. In 2017, a complaint was made to Kenya’s national lands commission by a group of citizens who have only grown in number ever since.