Tea Farmers in South Rift thronged into voting centres in the area to elect their new leaders, sending a clear message they want the reforms to succeed so that tea prices increase.
Through a chilly drizzling morning, farmers defied the weather and speculations that have been spread weeks before the election by the incumbents who claimed that elections would not be held.
“Farmers have suffered for the longest time in the hands of cartels purporting to know our needs, what we want now is new leadership,” explained Patrick Rono.
Regional elections coordinator Julius Kones said the new changes are the initiative by the farmers and overhaul of the whole management was imminent.
Mr Kones affirmed that farmers were upbeat about the process and this was indisputable in how they turned out in large numbers to elect in new leaders.
“This is a clear sign they support the government’s plan to change the sector, so that better returns can be realized,” he explained.
Ndarettwa Zone, newly elected Director, Kipngeno Rono informed farmers that they only intended the best for tea crofters in the region and the impact of the elected leaders will be felt immediately.
“What we only want is the best for our tea farmers who have suffered for a long time, we are going to work on the reforms immediately to ensure that farmers get better pay,” said Mr Kipngeno.
The newly elected directors of Kenya Tea Development Agency, allied to tea factories in the South Rift promised farmers that they will fully support the government in ensuring reforms succeed.
They also resolved to withdraw all the court cases filed by the old directors to block reforms and carry out audits in their factories to unravel riddles of misuse of funds.
Kapkoros Tea Factory has seven zones where 34 aspirants battled for the slots, while Mogogosiek with six zones had 23 aspirants contesting. Kapset Tea Factory had 26 candidates.
There were also two slots in each of the factories for delegate seats. Apart from meeting the requirements, aspirants were required to attach a copy of their June 2020, pays lip showing the total green leaf delivered in the 2019-2020 calendar period. For the position of delegates, a candidate was required to have a university degree.
The newly elected directors are expected to assume their offices with immediate effect.
By Lamech Arisa