Court suspends ouster of KTDA chairman after resignation row

Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) chairman David Muni Ichoho. FILE PHOTO | LUCY WANJIRU | NMG

The High Court has temporarily suspended the ouster of Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) chairman David Ichoho, pending the determination of a case he has filed challenging his removal.

Justice Jairus Ngaah in a ruling delivered on Wednesday certified the matter as urgent, temporarily blocking the removal of Mr Ichoho from the position.

Mr Ichoho went to court to block his ouster by current board members, chief executive Wilson Muthaura and company secretary Matthews Odero.

Ichoho took up the position of KTDA board chairman in June 2021, after the ouster of the previous office holder.

His takeover as the new chairman brought to an end the leadership of Peter Kanyago, who had been at the helm of the tea agency for many years.

The team was elected by 59 other directors elected by tea factories. “I have read the applicant’s application dated 11, July 2023 filed under a certificate of urgency of even date. The same is certified urgent and leave granted in terms of prayers 1 and 2 of the summons,” the judge said, adding that the suit shall be mentioned on July 25, 2023, for further directions.

Mr Ichoho says in his plea to the court that his sacking is illegal because he was kicked out of the office without any written reasons.

He claims that he was coerced to sign a resignation letter, a move that forced him to rush to court and obtain orders to bar the termination of his contract which was to end in June 2024.

Mr Ichoho says that his woes started following the just-concluded national tea conference in Kericho, a move that saw external forces start interfering with the management of the board which he says culminated into his attempted ouster.

He says the decision to kick him out is aimed at circumventing the rule of natural justice and the procedure set out for the removal of an occupant of the seat of chairman of the KTDA board.

The embattled chairman says that since his election into the position, there has not been any administrative action taken against him or any complaint raised with regard to the execution of his duties.

“That I’m aware that these sudden actions by the board members are subject to outside influences and political gimmicks which if allowed will adversely affect my rights and fundamental freedom,” he says in an affidavit signed in court.

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