Murang’a Tea Farmers Attribute KTDA Election Delays to Legal Battles

MURANG’A – Tea farmers from four factories in Murang’a county have expressed their frustration over delayed elections for new Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) directors, attributing the holdup to ongoing court cases.

According to Kenya News Agency, Gatunguru, Kanyenyaini, and Githambo tea factories, litigation initiated by former directors has impeded the implementation of critical reforms within the sector.

The elections, initially scheduled for last year, have been stymied by 11 separate legal actions, preventing the necessary leadership transition and the advancement of proposed sector improvements. Farmers, including representatives Wambugu Gachunji, Julius Muraya, and Johnson Maina, argue that the legal disputes fostered by ousted directors have effectively frozen the reform process, undermining operational stability at KTDA.

These grievances were voiced during a gathering at Kahatia market, where the farmers highlighted the adverse impact of the prolonged legal confrontations on both the agency’s functioning and the broader tea farming community. They assert that the continued litigious environment not only drains KTDA’s financial resources but also stalls initiatives aimed at enhancing farmer earnings and operational efficiency.

Amidst the legal wrangling, the farmers have voiced their support for the current KTDA leadership under Chairman Enos Njeru, appreciating the incremental benefits realized thus far, including improved monthly payments for their produce. They urge the former directors to concede, withdrawing their court challenges to facilitate the much-needed elections and subsequent reforms.

Conversely, former director Charles Kamure contends that the allegations of the current board members are misleading, arguing that the ongoing cases do not obstruct the election process but rather expose governance issues within KTDA. Kamure insists that the legal actions are not aimed at halting progress but ensuring accountability and transparency within the organization.

The situation underscores a broader debate on the future of tea sector governance in Kenya, reflecting the tension between past and present leadership and the urgent call for reforms to uplift the welfare of tea farmers in the region.

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