Withdraw cases if you want to run, Rigathi to former KTDA Directors

Court cases have frustrated reforms in the tea sub sector.

Speaking at the Tea Board of Kenya Headquarters during the launch of the tea industry performance report, Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua said during the tea reforms conference in Kericho they had agreed with all the stake holders that they will withdraw the cases before court to allow the reforms to be beneficial to the farmer. Some have withdrawn while others have not.

“I want to call upon all the stakeholders who mean well for the Kenyan farmer to please withdraw those cases and allow these reforms to be implemented fully for the benefit of the Kenyan farmer. Those who are in KTDA and want to run for elections are free to do so but they cannot run for elections when they have taken the organization to court. It is absurd that we are using farmers money to sort out individual issues. People who want to lead, people who are greedy for power take farmers to courts. We have to pay lawyers from the farmers earnings, it is not right, it is unethical, it’s immoral,” says the Deputy President.

Referring to the former KTDA Directors who went to court to object their ouster, Rigathi says you cannot say that you mean well for the Kenyan farmers yet you take them to court and use his or her earnings to prosecute your matter in court against the farmer. He added that the Directors can run for office as long as they withdraw the cases. “So as an administration, we will be very reluctant and I don’t think we can allow anybody who has taken the farmers to court to run for office. If you want to run for office, please leave courts and go to the farmers and seek mandate. And if the farmers in their wisdom decide that you have the capacity to lead them you are allowed to lead them. But you cannot take the farmers to court, use their resources to prosecute them in court and come and say you want to lead them,” opines the Dp.

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According to the Deputy President, the moratorium that was there for the former Directors not to run for office will be lifted when they get out of courts and go to the farmers and seek office. Saying farmers issues are not decided in court but at the factory, he challenged them to go to the farmers Annual General Meetings and seek mandate from the farmers and they will allow them if they think they are suitable.

“But taking farmers to the High Court, to the Court of Appeal, I think it’s unfair and it’s not right. And when you look at the issues being conversed in court, they have nothing to do with the famers. None of these litigants has the interest of the farmer at heart, they want to protect their turf and they want to have their say in decision making, not to the interest of the farmer but to the detriment of the farmer. We are willing to allow everybody to seek office because this country is democratic and everybody has a right to seek for whatever office you want in the land including being a director in the factory owned by farmers. But let us agree that farmers issues will be sorted in the factory not in a court of law. So, you cannot be at the factory and the court room at the same time. You just have to make a decision where you want to be and I think once you do that, we would want elections from KTDA factories to take place. The government will supervise and make sure we provide security and everything to allow the farmers to free and democratically choose their directors so that they represent their interest and they are accountable to the tea farmer for the ordinary running of the industry,” he adds.

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