Farmers to elect leaders under the new tea law

Kagema Ngure (right) with his wife Karaya, parents of one of the Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) staff who were detained by the police at the KTDA offices, Nairobi. on April 17, 2021. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

The much anticipated elections under the Tea Act, 2020, take place this Saturday at  Chinga Tea Factory.

Reformists championing the Tea Act, 2020, believe the elections at the factory will mark a turning point in the journey to revolutionise the sub-sector.

Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) chairman Peter Kanyago has been a director at Chinga Tea Factory where he has been representing Mumbu-ini West since the late 1990s.

In the 2,000 transition elections, he became the KTDA director representing Nyeri zone and 10 years later succeeded his Meru counterpart Stephen Mutai Imanyara as KTDA chairman after a power tussle at the privatised agency.

Election schedule shows 16 candidates have been cleared for the six zones at Chinga. The elections were put off on April 10 even as four other Nyeri factories at Gathuthi, Iria-ini, Ragati and Gitugi held their elections under the Tea Act, 2020.

At the KTDA chairman’s Mumbu-ini West zone, Mark Mwangi and Jane Wanjuki will be contesting while four others have been cleared for Mucharage zone, three for Gichiche and Mumbu-ini and two for Gathera ward.

Meanwhile, KTDA and the East African Tea Trade Association (EATTA) have separately protested last Friday’s raids at their premises by Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) officers enforcing a presidential order to conduct forensic investigations in the tea value chain.

In a press statement yesterday, KTDA said it had nothing to hide regarding its operations.

The agency said the DCI raid led to unlawful seizure of computers, payment records of 620,000 farmers, shareholder registers, title deeds and other records and documents.

Separately, EATTA also protested against another DCI invasion at its Mombasa premises last Friday.

In a letter to members, EATTA Managing Director Edward Mudibo said DCI officers raid at their premises on Friday was an affront to the association’s rights as a private entity.