Uproar as man in sex for work tea scandal is cleared to contest

John Chebochock receives his nomination certificate from the IEBC to run for the position of director at Toror Tea Factory. [Courtesy]

The Coalition Against Sexual Violence (CASV), comprising 14 organisations, has written to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to oppose the candidacy of John Chebochock.

Chebochock is one of the officials who were exposed in the BBC documentary titled “Sex for Work: The True Cost of Our Tea,” on February 20, 2023.

He is seeking to vie for the position of director at Toror Tea Factory, managed by the Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA).

The documentary exposed Chebochock’s alleged abuse of power and office, where he reportedly sexually exploited women and demanded sexual favours in exchange for paid employment.

The statement is signed by organizations, including Advocates for Social Change, the Independent Medico-Legal Unit, Center for Rights Education and Awareness, the Kenya Legal and Ethical Issue Network, the Gender Violence Recovery Center, and ActionAid Kenya.

They want him barred from vying for the KTDA factory directorship

“This will safeguard the public interest, uphold the reputation of the Kenyan tea subsector, and honour the rights and dignity of the survivors, whose wounds remain unhealed due to his actions,” the statement read in part.

Additionally, the statement asserts that barring Chebochock from contesting will strongly convey that accountability exists within the tea sector for individual and collective acts of omission or commission.

Other organisations who signed the statement include; The Wanja Kanja Foundation, Utu Wetu, The Africa Gender and Media Initiative, Trust for Indigenous Culture and Health, Association for Grassroots Journalists in Kenya, Flone Initiative, and Huru Defenders,

They petitioned the electoral agency and the Kenya Tea Board to take immediate action to prevent Chebochock’s candidacy from proceeding.

Martin Nyaga, the IEBC Returning Officer for the KTDA elections, stated that the onus of vetting candidates in the election lies with the Kenya Tea Board (KTB), the industry regulator. "We are not an investigative agency. We only rely on the Kenya Tea Board as the regulator,” he said.