Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) factory directors in Murang’a county have vowed they will not allow the newly elected directors to occupy offices.
The directors have termed the ongoing elections of new ones as illegitimate and not backed by either Company Articles or Company Law.
In a press briefing on Monday at Ngere tea factory in Murang’a, the directors drawn from Zone two and three in the county said they will not leave offices until proper elections which adhere to the company’s law are done.
On Saturday, elections of new directors were conducted for six tea factories in Murang’a county. The remaining four factories are slated to conduct their elections on March 31.
The factories which did their elections on Saturday include Nduti, Ngere, Njunu, Makomboki, Ikumbi and Kanyanyaini.
The newly elected directors were to occupy office on Monday but the move was blocked by the directors who are already serving in the factories’ boards.
The directors led by Zone Two Board Member Erustus Gakuya said Agriculture Cabinet secretary Peter Munya who is now calling for elections of directors had blocked the process through attaining a court order.
Elections of the directors, Gakuya said, were supposed to be conducted in September 2020 but were halted after Munya moved to court.
“In September last year, CS Munya stopped our elections in a Mombasa court. We would have held them as we always do in every November. But now he says we have never held the elections and he is the one who has tied hands behind our backs,” posed Gakuya.
He said some of the individuals who were elected as directors on Saturday have been barred by court from holding office of directorship and are fronting themselves in total disregard to the court decisions.
“We are in office as legitimate directors. We are all farmers affiliated to our respective factories and are elected by stakeholders as directors in respective factories,” said Samuel Nduati, a Director from Ngere tea factory.
On March 20, the President issued an executive order directing all tea factories to conduct elections for new directors. The elections are supposed to be done in line with the new regulations which stipulates one farmer one vote.
KTDA have been conducting the elections based on the number of shares a farmer has, something which have been criticised for blocking small scale farmers in electing directors.
Storm is expected to be witnessed in the tea factories as the newly elected directors also stressed to force themselves to office accusing KTDA of failing to listen and act to farmers’ grievances.
The tea agency currently has eight pending court cases which are seeking to block implementation of Tea Act 2020.
A section of tea farmers has been demanding withdrawal of the cases so as to allow the new regulations to take place and help minimising challenges they have been experiencing in the sector.
By: Bernard Munyao