Long-time chairman Peter Kanyago has been replaced by David Mune Ichocho, while Dr. Wesley Koech has succeeded Philip Ngetich as Vice Chairman. The position of company secretary has been taken by Patrick Ngunjiri, a tar reform lawyer who works for farmers, and has replaced Mr. John Omanga.
While Mr. Kanyago and Mr Ngetich has been at the helm of the tea organization for over two decades, it’s not clear if they’ll go ahead without a fight – after the state supported changes to free the tea sector from cartels and collusion between buyers and brokers.
Reforms in the tea sector have been ravaged by intrigue and legal proceedings – as the previous board employed reformists and the Ministry of Agriculture in the courts, where it has filed various cases.
The new KTDA directors had sworn to withdraw all cases – which cost the tea farmers millions of shillings in litigation costs.
” That is the task that lies ahead of us. We have to clean up the house, “said Mr. Ngunjiri, the new company secretary.
In these cases, tea factories, which are independent companies, have been ordered to act as litigants from their agents in a circus who exposed the collusion between KTDA headquarters and factory directors in stopping reforms.
While President Kenyatta signed the Tea Act 2020 in Judge Anthony Anthony Mrima, a Supreme Court judge, suspended some provisions of the law pending full hearing after the Kenya Tea Growers Association (KTGA) argued that Sections 36, 48 and 53 of the Tea Act were unconstitutional.
Companies that have filed the case include James Finlay, Kapchorua Tea Plc Ltd, Kipkebe Ltd, Nandi Tea Estates, Williamson Tea Plc, and Sotik Highlands Tea Estates Ltd.
< h2 class = "align - justify" > Broker commission
The East African Tea Trade Association has also contested § 34 (4). of the Act, which deals with the brokerage fee farmers are supposed to pay, arguing that it has remained silent about the percentage of payments to be made by the tea buyers and tea factories.
The law, which went into effect Jan. 11, 2021, banned the sale of tea outside the auction hall after farmers complained that direct sales were being used by brokers and cartels to defraud farmers.
When the government tried to oppose the cases by the Agriculture and Food Authority (Afa), about 50 factories headed by the Mungania Tea Factory rejected a request from Afa on omission, arguing that the regulator had no legal basis to reject the case as there are no board members to authorize it.
The KTDA lawyers had argues that vers Certain sections of the Tea Act violate several laws, including the Companies Act, the Contract Act, the Plant Cultivation Act, and the Competition Act.
While legal proceedings slowed the reform process, the government pleaded the Cabinet Secretary for Internal Affairs Dr. Fred Matiang’i and his agriculture counterpart, Peter Munya, guide factory-level farmers in holding director elections in accordance with the Tea Act 2020.
Get the old guard out
With these elections most of the old KTDA-Garden were either voted out or simply kept away. Attempts by factory managers to sabotage the takeover resulted in the government asking the county commissioners to assist the new board members.
After the elections in the various zones were completed , the focus had turned to the management of KTDA Holdings, whose shareholders are the tea factories.
“This is the greatest coup the farmers have ever seen. The fight was worth every sweat, ”said Irungu Nyakera, chairman of a task force chosen by Mr. Munya to advise on tea prices.
With great expectations, farmers are pushing for a forensic examination of KTDA-managed factories, as well as KTDA subsidiaries, believed to have wasted billions of shillings.