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Muranga tea factory directors seek fresh mandate in polls

Directors drawn from 10 tea factories in Murang’a have expressed interests for reelection in the polls slated for June this year.

More than 60 directors have underscored their performance saying for the past three years they have served in management boards of their factories, tea farmers have benefited hugely.

The directors who were led by their respective zones KTDA board members welcomed the directive of Tea Board of Kenya (TBK) to have elections in June, 2024.

They promised to abide by the TBK’s directive saying the elections will end the protracted conflict with former directors whom they bundled out of office three years ago during the polls and opted to petition for their loss in courts.

The polls, they argued, will bring to an end wrangles that existed between the current directors and their former who lost their positions in 2020 upon implementation of the tea reforms.

The directors who met in a Murang’a hotel, Wednesday and Led by James Githinji and Chege Kirundi, board members of zone two and zone three respectively, accused former directors for instituting court cases which have  cost farmers a lot of money paid as court fees.

“Since we took over three years ago, the performance of our factories have improved. Farmers have witnessed high payout of bonus last year and even in this year, bonus will be paid at higher rates.” Said Kilundi adding that in September they will announce the annual bonus payment which will be higher than last year.

Kirundi said the directive to hold elections by June should be respected, saying former directors are free to campaign.

“The government decision on election should be respected as the farmers who are the majority will give their verdict,” He added.

On his part, Githinji expressed optimism that current directors will be reelected based on their remarkable track record.

He said farmers should not shy off from participating in the elections adding measures are in place to ensure the exercise will be free and fair.

“The voting will be through a secret ballot based on one farmer one vote principle. The share and proxy systems that were abused in the past have since been outlawed by the regulator,” said Githinji who is also a director at Ngere tea factory.

During the meeting, chairman of Kanyenyaini Factory, Alex Macharia Karuguru observed that for the last three years the sector has improved owing to better coordination by the TBK.

“At Kanyenya ini tea factory, the current board inherited a dilapidated processing plant, and millions of shillings have been spent towards rehabilitation and sealing the leaking roof. Karuguru.

“Currently, farmers have enjoyed an increment in the price of green leaf from Sh16 to between Sh.21 and Sh.25,” said Githinji.

Tea bonus, He noted, has been on the rise following the impressive market of the commodity in the local and international markets.

Murang’a County tea caucus chairman Prof Joseph Karanja said in three years the directors have done a lot to improve the tea processing plants and ensure farmers deliver quality green leaf.

“Based on last year’s performance analysis of tea factories in Murang’a, the bonus rates that will be announced in September will be impressive and good news to farmers,” stated Karanja, chairman at Ngere Tea Factory.

By Bernard Munyao

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