Government issues timetable to assist tea farmers hold their AGMs

Agriculture Counties Nairobi

The government has issued a timetable that will enable tea farmers plan and hold their Annual and also Extra Ordinary Meetings in line with their respective Memorandum and Articles of Association

The elections for the 54 tea factories will be held in Muranga, Kirinyaga, Nyeri, Kiambu, Embu, Meru, Tharaka Nithi, Nyamira, Kisii, Kericho, Bomet, Nakuru, Trans Nzoia, Kakamega and Nandi Counties and start from tomorrow March 20 till May 22, 2021.

Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Co-operatives Peter Munya said tea farmers should however ensure that they  notify the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and  Co-operatives, Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government, the Attorney General, the Tea Board of Kenya and the local security agencies  of the time and venues of the extraordinary general meetings to enable the government provide the necessary support for the meetings.

Speaking today when issuing the time table and also on the revitalization of the tea sub sector, the CS said the role of the government is to support farmers who are the shareholders of factories in order to carry out successful meetings.

“It is the mandate of the farmers following Memorandum and Articles of Association to convene the meetings and give requisite notice”, he said noting that already 6 factories in Muranga have already given their notice and will have their meetings starting tomorrow.

The government, Munya said will back them up in terms of support and providing security in order for them to have successful election

The time table for the tea factories has been suggested and given according to regions by the government for purposes of adhering to COVID 19 rules and also provision of security and bringing order, the CS insisted

“I want to however clarify that these meetings are being held in accordance with the association of Articles of factories that the elections are one grower, one vote and will not be fraudulent like the one KTDA was using before”, Munya said

The CS also clarified that since the zoning and reduction of Directors that were suggested in the Tea Act has been stayed by the courts, the election should follow the initial 6 zones electoral boundaries that were being used before the Act became into effect.”

 “We don’t want to breach any court order that was given in relation to reduction of the Directors. we want them to maintain the ones they had before the tea act came to effect to comply with court order”, he said.

Under the current law and also the memoranda under articles of the association and executive order, Munya said that the farmers are empowered under the law to hold election since, tea factories belong to them and not the directors who sit in Nairobi,

The government is determined to ensure that this election happens and no amount of intimidation, misinformation and misuse of of farmers money in filing multiple cases is going to stop the right of small holder farmers in Kenya to hold meeting and elect people they have confidence so that we can turn around this important value chain in the country”, CS Munya said

The elections for the Directors of this Tea companies are due and even late, the CS noted saying that AGMs are normally held every year and farmers have been demanding for them since the Directors were not giving notice.

“, I have seen in the social media, the top management of KTDA saying the meetings such as the one called in Muranga are fake. They are not and are properly been convened by shareholders of those factory companies and we are asking the rest of companies to follow suit”, he said

Munya specifically said the timetable being issued is for the purpose of the schedule to be utilised so that the government can be able to provide necessary logistical support.

On the issue of the quorum for the Board of tea factories which is four and the Boards are in limbo and cannot form a quorum to conduct business including convening general meetings for the tea factories, the CS said since none has any all companies are due and should elect new directors and even those in the office can be voted out

“That is the busines of the farmers since they are the owners of the companies, governments only right is to facilitate and support farmers, to give effect to their own law that being breached everyday by cartels that are running KTDA”, Munya said.

The President issued an Executive Order No. 3 of 2021 on Friday 12th March 2021 on revitalization of the tea sub-sector as it was experiencing challenges in regard to diminishing earnings to tea farmers and also performance of KTDA that was negatively affecting the sub sector.

By Wangari Ndirangu

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