LSK demands resignation of John Chebochok over alleged sex scandal

John Chebochok .[Photo, courtesy]

The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) has demanded the immediate resignation of John Chebochok from his position as Toror Tea Factory Director.

In a statement, LSK President Faith Odhiambo criticised the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) for clearing Chebochok to run for office despite his questionable background.

"LSK questions the vetting process conducted by the IEBC, which allowed Chebochok to be cleared for candidacy despite the serious allegations against him. It is imperative that candidates for leadership positions, especially in industries with a history of gender-based violence, undergo thorough background checks to ensure they are of unblemished character," read the statement.

In 2023, Chebochok was exposed for sexual exploitation acts in a BBC documentary titled "Sex for Work: The True Cost of Our Tea." 

In the documentary, survivors narrated how he would exploit them sexually to be hired or retain their jobs at James Finlays Limited. These accusations led to his termination.

Despite this, Chebochok was still elected as the director of Toror Tea Factory last month, raising questions about the vetting procedures and credibility of candidates for said positions.

According to LSK, Chebochok's appointment “undermines efforts to combat sexual and gender-based violence within the tea sector and further jeopardizes the welfare of female workers in the industry.”

For these reasons, the lawyers are now demanding that Chebochok resign from the Director position, and has urged the IEBC to review its vetting procedures to prevent individuals with questionable backgrounds from contesting for leadership positions in the future.

The Society has also called for implementing policies and mechanisms to ensure the safety and protection of all workers from sexual harassment and exploitation, especially in the tea sector.

LSK joins an army of civil society organisations who have sent similar requests to KTDA for Chebockok to step down, saying he is unfit to hold office.