A court has barred a tea factory in Murang’a County from breaking away from the umbrella Kenya Development Agency Limited (KTDA).
Lady Justice Teresia Matheka rejected the move by Kiru Tea Factory Company Limited from seceding from KTDA saying the action will affect over 8,000 famers.
Besides being denied autonomy from KTDA, new directors elected to manage the factory on November 1, 2017 were restrained from assuming their new roles pending the hearing and determination of the case filed by Mr John Kennedy Omanga, the KTDA group company secretary.
Justice Matheka, who certified the case filed by lawyer Ben Millimo for KTDA as urgent, also called off an annual general meeting for the factory scheduled for November 17, 2017.
Urging the judge to block the attempted breakaway, Mr Millimo said tea, which is the country’s leading foreign exchange earner, needs to be jealously protected from greedy individuals who may push it to its knees like the coffee sector which has faced serious problems.
Mr Millimo said KTDA has over 600,000 small-scale tea growers and their tea is well secured and its marketing is guaranteed.
The judge also barred new officials elected to run the company from buying tea leaves from individual farmers, pending the hearing and determination of the case.
“Kiru Tea Factory is hereby restrained from recognising nominees or elected members pursuant to the Tea buying centres’ polls [held] on November 1, 2017,” Justice Matheka ruled.
The judge directed that the secession case be heard within 21 days.
“The break-away of Kiru will disenfranchise its members as they will be exposed and there will be no guarantee of receiving all the money from the sale of their tea,” Mr Millimo told Justice Matheka.
The lawyer said all the 54 companies which comprise KTDA are bound by the KTDA Act and that Kiru does not have any cogent reasons to secede.
The judge heard it is very hard to steal tea and sell it to any of the 54 factories due to the water tight rules that have been put in place by the KTDA.
“It is difficult to hawk tea in the factories as each delivery is allocated to an individual farmer,” Mr Millimo told the judge.
“The secession move by Kiru will expose the farmers’ tea to thuggery.”