Britain Faces Tea Shortage In Row Over Colonial Land Seizures In Kenya

Britain could face a tea shortage in a row over land that was seized from native people in colonial-era Kenya.

A Kenyan governor is demanding £15billion of reparations for land that was ‘stolen’ in the 1930s and has warned of Zimbabwe-style farm grabs if Britain does not pay up. 

Paul Chepkwony is threatening to seize as much as two-thirds of the farmland in Kericho County’s tea country in a move which could cripple the supply to Britain. 

Kenya is the largest tea supplier to the UK and there are some signs of gathering momentum behind Mr Chepkwony’s campaign, the Daily Telegraph reports. 

In the colonial period, local people were evicted from their land and often kept in terrible conditions in so-called ‘native reserves’. 

In the most extreme case, the entire Talai clan was deported from tea country in 1934 with hundreds of families forced to live on barren land. 

The land is now owned by commercial giants including Unilever, the company behind Lipton tea. 

Mr Chepkwony, the governor of Kericho County, has demanded that the British government acknowledge the land was ‘stolen’. 

If Britain does not pay up, he said he feared he would not be able to stop people overrunning the farms. 

‘It is in the interest of the UK Government and the multinational companies to settle this matter quickly if they are to live in harmony with the community,’ he said. 

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