The Kenya Tea Lobby Group has told Governor Kiraitu Murungi to stop dragging Meru politics into the tea sector, as this would negatively affect implementation of the proposed reforms.
The Group said it was in the public domain the governor was opposed to the tea reforms, since his political rival and Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya was busy implementing them.
Led by its chairman Irungu Nyakera, the group wondered why Kiraitu was now getting jittery over the reforms, which he was party to in 2014 when the journey started.
“At a stake holder’s forum held at the Safari Park Hotel and when Kiraitu was the Senate Chairman on Agriculture, as this journey to remove the burden from the farmers kicked off with his (Kiraitu) full support only for him to start fighting it,”Nyakera exclaimed.
He asked Kiraitu to jog his mind and recall all the proceedings of the forum and back off from the statement issued by the Council of Governors on Monday, which stated it was against the reforms.
“It’s a pity that Kiraitu who had all along been known to be a respected reformist, especially during the Kanu regime is now fighting such an initiative meant to end the financial bondage the KTDA had imposed on tea farmers for many years, “the official told the media at a Sagana hotel yesterday evening .
The group claimed Kiraitu who is a sworn political opponent of Munya was doing everything possible to frustrate the reforms by even taking the matter to court.
“As tea farmers, we are urging Kiraitu to stop dragging his political differences with Munya to the sector while using the proposed tea reforms as the platform.
Nyakera also reminded the COG that although Agriculture was a devolved function, policy formulation was still being handled by the National Government.
“Agriculture being the nation’s economic backbone, the role of policy making and formulation was still the prerogative of the national government since counties have no capacity of qualified and skilled experts to undertake such tasks,”Nyakera told the COG.
He maintained what Kiraitu and his cohorts did on Monday was illegal and unprocedural since the reforms were being spearheaded by the Agriculture ministry at the national level.
The leader urged Kiraitu to familiarize himself with the relevant Article of devolution on matters policy and stop misleading his colleagues at the COG to go against the wishes of the tea farmers.
Nyakera who was accompanied by leaders from Mt Kenya region who includeded a prominent Embu tea farmer, John Njiru Kathangu, Kagondu Karanu from Muranga , Samuel Njuno from Gatanga and Kirinyaga Maina Kinguru among others told off Kiraitu for backtracking on the reforms .
The group vowed to mobilize tea farmers from across the county to storm the KTDA headquarters in Nairobi and eject all the 12 Board of Directors who were becoming an impediment to the changes the farmers were yearning for.
Kathangu on his part told Kiraitu to leave Munya alone to undertake to its logical conclusion the reform process as mandated and directed by the Head of State, upon his appointment to the crucial Agriculture docket.
The farmer claimed he was aware Kiraitu like previous Agriculture official before Munya had been compromised by the KTDA to abandon the course of the reforms but warned him of harsh judgment come the general elections by the electorate court.
“If you are still interested in future elective politics, please leave Munya alone in this tea sector reform initiative or else your days in such positions are numbered since the writing is on the wall,” a fiery Kathangu warned Kiraitu.
The group said it had been mandated to champion the reforms on behalf of the tea farmers across the country and nothing would stop it invoking a Swahili saying “wengi wape “
By Irungu Mwangi