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Government will keep off tea directors' elections, assures Linturi

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

The government has assured smallholder tea farmers  that it will not meddle in the elections for the directors of tea factories slated for June 28.

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi gave the assurance to the farmers on Saturday at Githongo tea factory in Central Imenti, Meru County.

In the past, farmers and other stakeholders had accused the government of interfering with the elections.

Mr Linturi said the elections that will be managed by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) will be transparent, free and fair to enable the farmers to elect their preferred leaders.

He dismissed speculations that the government had its preferred candidates.

"There are allegations that the government has a preferred lineup. Contrary to what is being said out there, the government has no preferred candidates," Linturi said.

The CS who was accompanied by Central Imenti MP Moses Kirima said as a tea farmer he will also vote at Kiegoi tea buying centre in Igembe South.

"I will go to my factory with my slip and ID, vote and return to Nairobi because we want to take this sector forward, farmers have an opportunity to elect leaders who they feel will take tea sector forward," said Linturi.

He predicted better times ahead for tea growers this year in terms of improved prices.

"We are paying good prices. Bonus payments will rise from Sh45 to Sh60 and above," he added.

Linturi challenged tea factories to invest in orthodox tea machines saying orthodox tea was fetching premium prices compared to CTC tea. 

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