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Pending court cases blamed for frustrations rocking KTDA elections


A section of tea farmers from four tea factories located in northern parts of Murang’a County has blamed pending court cases for the delay in the elections of new directors.

The farmers from Kiru, Gatunguru, Kanyenyaini and Githambo factories have accused former directors who were ousted back in 2020 of instituting court cases to bar elections of directors and implementation of tea reforms.

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They argued that elections were slated for last year but due to 11 pending court cases, the exercise could not be done till the suits are either withdrawn or completed.

Led by Wambugu Gachunji, Julius Muraya, Johnson Maina from Kanyenyaini, Kiru and Githambo tea factories respectively, the farmers claimed that reforms in the tea sector have stalled since elections of new directors have not taken place.

The farmers who spoke at Kahatia market argued that proposed reforms in the tea sector could not be implemented due to the infighting between the current boards and former directors saying it was destabilizing operations at KTDA.

The small-scale tea growers said the former directors should not be allowed to participate in the forthcoming tea elections for allegedly blocking the reforms.

Wambugu said it’s time for the former directors to withdraw all the 11 court cases and allow elections of new directors to be conducted for the benefit of tea farmers.

“The frustrations in operations of KTDA through court cases is not only affecting current directors but also it’s detrimental to farmers as money is used by the agency to facilitate the suits,” noted Wambugu.

He added that the reforms agenda failed to actualize based on the enmity and infightings at KTDA Holdings Limited between the current and former directors.

The tea farmers expressed their confidence in the leadership of KTDA led by Chairman Enos Njeru following increased monthly payment from Sh21 to Sh25 per kilo of green leaf among other incentives that have benefited the sector.

“As farmers, we call upon former tea directors to honourably withdraw the cases that are not beneficial to the farmers and impediments to reforms,” said Wambugu.

On his part, Maina said the farmers were ready to reject former directors at the ballot as they have been working for the downfall of the sector.

“The proposed reforms by the government were meant to increase farmers’ earnings but unfortunately, this cannot be achieved due to pending court cases,” observed Maina.

At the same time, Muraya argued that the suits lodged by the former directors have milked the tea growers dry to the tune of Sh48 million.

He added that matters about tea are deliberated in farmers’ meetings where the directors seek mandate but not in courts.

“The reforms were initiated to benefit the farmers who over the years were earning peanuts,” he noted.

But in a rejoinder, Charles Kamure, a former director, accused a section of current tea directors of misleading the tea growers on issues about the sector.

Kamure, a former chairman at Njunu Tea Factory, said the misinformation was a ploy by the directors to continue holding positions.

“The cases are not by any way blocking the holding of elections. There is a lot of misinformation being peddled for a few to remain in positions,” added Karume when KNA contacted him via a phone call.

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