Why some members of tea reforms committee risk jail term

By Allan Wanjiku

Muranga politician Irungu Nyakera, the late John Michuki’s daughter Wanja Michuki and Daily Nation’s John Kamau in Kiharu last week on a meeting with farmers, despite the court order the committee seems to have hit the ground running

Members of the national steering committee on the implementations of tea reforms have started meetings with tea farmers even after Justice PM Nyamwega issued court orders barring them from commencing their duties.

The team was declared an amorphous group after the gazette notice number 4469 issued by CS Peter Munya was quashed until the hearing and determination of a suit filed by the Kenya Tea development Agency (KTDA).

The court order was issued on July 10 this year pitting KTDA against Agriculture CS, Agricultural Food and fisheries Authority (Afa) and the Attorney general as the respondents while the committee members were listed as interested members.

But even as the court issued orders in the matter that is coming up for directions on September 21, some of the committee members include Muranga politician Irungu Nyakera, Daily Nation’s John Kamau, and the late John Michuki’s daughter Wanja Michuki have hit the ground running meeting tea farmers and campaigning for the committee saying it will make manna fall for tea farmers and reap big from farming.

On August 15, a member of the taskforce Ms Michuki met a handful of tea farmers at Kururumo village in her home turf Kangema Constituency where she chided the Agency over its fertilizer issuance program and mooted for the competition to wipe out monopoly in KTDA.

“There is need to introduce competition as there is monopoly in KTDA to bring in better services and better pay, the issuance of fertilizer by the tea agency can be processed by factories for economies of scale,” Ms Wanja told the farmers and journalists.

On Saturday 29, the team led by Mr Nyakera, Mr Kamau and Ms Wanja converged at Gathaithi in Kiharu Consttuency, the home turf of Mr Kamau where they vowed to continue discharging their duties without fear to ensure the ‘theft in KTDA comes to an end’.

After visiting the two centers, that is Kaganda and Gathaithi, Mr John Kamau wrote in his Facebook page “And there went the message, no retreat no surrender,”

Mr Nyakera on his part wrote… “Ground chronicles ground want tea regulations by Cs Munya implemented immediately. Ground also wants Kanyago, Omanga and Tiampati to ship out KTDA, Now,’

Ostensibly, some of the reasons that informed Justice Wamweya to issue the conservatory orders were the submission by KTDA that some of the persons appointed in the National Steering Committee on the Implementation of Tea Reforms in Kenya have publicly pronounced themselves adversely against it and have cases in Court on matters relating to the operations of the Applicant.

The agency averred that others have broken contractual relationship with it

“Therefore that the said Committee members have not only openly disclosed open bias against the ex parte Applicant but they are so conflicted and unfit to preside over any issues relating to the Applicant,” an affidavit read in part.

The court was also informed that KTDA is a private company and that Mr Munya has no legal right to seek to cause changes on its business operations and that the he (CS) did not cite any law that empowered him to appoint such a Committee, as indeed no such law exists.

There was also contestations that Cs Munya has directed public funds vested to Afa to be spent on an amorphous illegal entity in the form of the said Committee, and has acted ultra vires as no law grants him power to appropriate public funds vested to the authority.

Going by the court orders, the committee has acted in total contempt of court and only complicates matters since the matter is coming up in three weeks’ time and the members may find themselves in the wrong side of the law attracting a fine or a jail term.

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