DP Gachagua warns coffee and tea cartels against exploiting farmers

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua addresses mourners during the funeral service of former New Kenya Cooperative Creameries Chairman late Eliud Matu Wamae at Giakaibei Catholic church in Mathira, Nyeri county, December 22, 2022. [Mose Sammy, Standard]

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has warned brokers and cartels in the tea and coffee sector that have been frustrating farmers that the Kenya Kwanza government will deal firmly with them.

The DP was speaking in Giakaibei in Nyeri County when he led a host of leaders who attended the funeral of former Mathira MP Matu Wamae who he eulogised as a national hero who served Kenyans.

"He was a great man he revived the dairy sector through his leadership of the New KCC (Kenya Creameries Company) and oversaw handing over and running of the economy in Kenya," he said of Wamae.

On the coffee and tea reforms, the DP said the government was focused on ensuring farmers received their fair dues.

"The government shall not sleep until coffee and tea farmers have money in their pockets."

He further accused the previous regime of the mess in the two sectors saying they were to blame for shielding these cartels.

"The main reason why the previous government was unable to fight cartels in the coffee and tea sector is that some officials wanted to steal the profits from farmers."

The DP added: "Our government will succeed in implementing reforms because neither President William Ruto nor I have any personal interest in the tea and coffee sectors."

This, Gachagua said, will work to their advantage so that his administration can fight the cartels who are exploiting farmers.

"Farmers put in a lot of hard work and they must earn better from their labour. Our government will continue to establish a better framework to protect farmers' investments," he said.

Among the leaders in attendance were Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga, County Speaker James Gichuhi, Mathira MP Eric Wamumbi and Senator Wahome Wamatinga.

Former powerful Cabinet Minister Chris Murangaru who has not been seen in public for close to two decades attended the funeral.

Wamae who was Mathira MP for three terms first contested for the seat in 1979 and returned in 1983 where he won the post.

He lost the election in 1987 and returned to his business until 1992 when he successfully campaigned and won the Mathira parliamentary seat until 1997.

He was eulogised by former Nyeri Senator Ephraim Maina as a close friend since the early sixties and his mentor who inspired him to join politics.

"I met Matu in the early 1960s when he was still working at the Central Bank and he was instrumental in shaping my political path," he said.

The DP noted that Wamae played a major role in reviving the dairy sector pointing out that he used his resources to finance the company to avoid its total collapse.

After he was later appointed as the chairman of the New KCC by former President Mwai Kibaki, through his leadership the new KCC grew into a strong corporation.

"He was selfless, that was the kind of man he was his efforts to ensure that Kenyans became financially stable after the colonial period will not be forgotten," Gachagua pointed out.

He also added that Wamae played a major part in ensuring that the Kenyan economy was running smoothly after the colonialists left the country.

Wamae is survived by his wife Joyce Gathoni and her four sons and several grandchildren.

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