Munya says tea farmers have huge stake in next government, urges them to back Raila
Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya says the ongoing reforms in the tea sector must continue even after the next government takes over.
Munya told the 1.5 million tea farmers in the country to vote in a government that will ensure sustained reforms and ward off cartels that have been exploiting them.
Munya, who was addressing smallholder farmers when he officially opened Ndarugu and Gachege tea factories in Gatundu South and North in Kiambu County, also defended President Uhuru Kenyatta's choice of Raila Odinga as his preferred candidate in the August 9 elections.
"The President who initiated the reforms in the tea sector has good intentions for farmers and the country at large and wants to ensure that whoever succeeds him does not derail the achievements he has made," the CS said.
President Kenyatta has declared his support for Raila who is the Azimio La Umoja coalition flag bearer and is running against his main opponent Deputy President William Ruto of Kenya Kwanza alliance.
Munya said that there was nothing strange or wrong with Uhuru’s move to back Raila since the outgoing president, as the Head of State, has a democratic right to choose his political path as it was the norm in other countries including the US where outgoing presidents have backed their preferred successors.
“The President not only has a right to support whoever he chooses to succeed but also to lead Mount Kenya residents in charting a safe political direction that will continue to advance their interests,” he stated.
He also warned politicians campaigning for various seats to refrain from hurling insults to their competitors or those not in their political camps as this may fuel mayhem.
The CS informed tea growers that a report on a probe over the embezzlement of funds by former Kenya Tea Development Authority (KTDA) directors will soon be made public and legal action taken against those implicated.
“We have also initiated a forensic audit which will help in sealing loopholes that enable looting of farmers’ resources and come up with water-tight measures,” he added.
Noting that the Russia-Ukraine war has sparked a price hike in the prices of fertilizer globally, the CS asked local politicians not to play politics with the issue and mislead farmers that it was a Kenyan matter.
He also announced that tea farmers’ bonus payments will be made on every July 8th starting from this year and they won't have to wait until October as was the case previously.
Earlier, KTDA Chairman David Ichoho said tea exports have been affected by the ongoing War between Russia and Ukraine which are major importers of the product and told producers to be bear with the situation.
He also said farmers will get Sh 6 billion in bonus payments this year up from around Sh 4 billion the previous year.
Two weeks ago, Ruto and his brigade invaded President Kenyatta’s Gatundu home turf urging locals to not only support their State House race but also ignore Odinga whom they accused of sabotaging the government's development agenda through the handshake pact.