The Kenya Tea Development Agency Holding Chairman David Ichoho now says external players forced him to resign.
While seeking court’s intervention to stop his ‘forceful’ removal from office, Ichoho said after the concluded National Tea Sector Conference in Kericho external forces interfered with the management of agency influencing the decision by the management board to remove him.
Ichoho in a letter dated July 11 had resigned from the position stating the resignation would take effect on July 14 at 1400 hours.
But today morning, the embattled chair wrote a letter to the company secretary withdrawing the resignation.
“I wish to rescind the decision to resign from the position of the chairman of the Board of KTDA Holdings,” read the letter by Ichoho.
In a complaint at the High Court, Ichoho claims some members within the executive are working with external powers to unfairly remove him.
In a matter he seeks court’s urgency, Ichoho said it is these external powers that had forced him to resign.
“The respondents are acting on instructions from agencies not authorised to meddle in the affairs of the KTDA Holding Limited. The applicant has been forced to sign a resignation letter by the respondents,” read part of the plaint lodged by lawyer Danson Ng’ang’a.
Ichoho further argues that he was not given any written notice or reasons for the intention of his removal nor granted a fair hearing.
He said on July 11, 2023, the day he wrote the resignation letter, a special board meeting was held to review the resolutions of Kericho Tea Conference but instead it took a turn to deliberate on the issue of his removal from office forcing him to write the said letter.
High Court Judge Justice Jairus Ngaah ordered the matter to be mentioned on July 25.
The tea agency has in the recent past faced strong criticism from farmers who accused the management of having allowed cartels to fleece them of their hard-earned money
In the just concluded tea conference in Kericho, Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua accused KTDA of exploiting small-scale farmers by diverting profits to new projects without involving them.
Gachagua said whenever the agency makes a profit, it initiates new projects instead of distributing the earnings to the farmers.
“We will not allow the Agency’s management to make unilateral decisions in Nairobi anymore, especially regarding new projects worth billions of shillings. Small-scale tea farmers must be actively engaged in such decision-making processes,” he said.
The DP said among key reforms the Kenya Kwanza regime will focus on is the full implementation of the Tea Act 2020 to enable smallholder tea farmers to benefit from the produce.