The chairman of the vibrant Rungeto Coffee Farmers’ Cooperative Society has been rejected by the farmers after an inspection report implicated him in various malpractices.
Fredrick Karithi who was present at a general meeting held on Saturday at Karimikui coffee factory, one of the three such facilities which make the society was not allowed to defend himself over the said malpractices.
The irate farmers forcibly ejected the official, who was accompanied by his son, from the venue and completely driven out of sight.
Both the official and the son were roughed up as they left the venue but thanks to the police officers who had been deployed to provide security they left the venue unharmed as their fate had been sealed.
The society which is the highest producer of parchment and quality coffee in Kirinyaga County was reported to have been experiencing heavy losses under the watch of Karithi.
Karithi was also accused of having become a global tourist at the expense of the farmers hence the dwindling produce returns.
He was said to have traveled to India,Venezuela and Israel and while away committee members could not transact any business in his absence.
The meeting presided over by the top county agriculture and cooperative officials resolved to have Joyce Wanjiku continue acting Chairperson until the elections were conducted.
Wanjiku was appointed last year after Karithi was suspended by his colleagues over his highhandedness and the said malpractices.
“Karithi has been behaving like a colonial primary school headmaster and had no regard for the other management committee members hence the situation our society is in,” Wanjiku told the farmers.
Among the said anomalies was Karithi’s refusal to have grade AA parchment coffee to be delivered to the market where the commodity was fetching 450 dollars per 50 kg bag and only later to be sold at a fluctuated 300 dollars.
Speaking to the media later Karithi blamed the county auditors of allegedly coming up with a doctored report meant to paint him negatively.
“If indeed I have committed any malpractices as alleged, then why wasn’t I accorded an opportunity to defend myself at the meeting before the farmers, he posed.
Added Kariithi “I should also state here and now that at no time did I ever enter into sole negotiations with coffee marketers as claimed by my detractors since we, management committee, act collectively over such matters.”
Karithi also denied ever calling for management committee meetings without an agenda only to dictate to the members after getting them off-guard.
The disgraced official said under his watch in 2019 the society realized some 3.06 million kilogrammes of cherry as opposed to the 2.6 million kilos during the just-ended season.
The society has only four elected officials while it is supposed to have seven where each of the three affiliated factories elect two.
Most of the other societies in the county produce an average of 100,000 kg of cherry per season due to various factors which include gross mismanagement, poor crop husbandry, and land fragmentation.
by Irungu Mwangi