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Economy

KTDA directors to stay out of office longer in polls row

KTDA chairman Peter Kanyago addresses
KTDA chairman Peter Kanyago addresses journalists after he was re-elected as the KTDA Zone IV Nyeri’s repeat election against Mr Peter Wanjau at Iriaini tea factory in Nyeri on March 16, 2018. He garnered 28 votes out of 30. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI 

The High Court has extended an order barring newly elected officials of the Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) from assuming office, pending a ruling in January.

Justice Weldon Korir extended the order to January 20 when he will rule on an application by the agency seeking to strike out the petition on grounds that the case was filed prematurely.

Through lawyer Benson Milimo, KTDA argued that the three farmers who filed the case moved to court before going for arbitration or through the established dispute resolution mechanism.

The agency has described the three as busybodies who vied and lost during the elections and only rushed to court claiming to challenge the rules and the presiding officer.

Three farmers, Mr Joseph Mwangi Mbote, Mr Peterson Maina Gathua and Mr Samson Mwangi Wairugu moved to court last month accusing KTDA company secretary of unilaterally and without authority, publishing an election procedure manual for KTDA-managed tea factories’ director nominees.

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They have named KTDA Holdings Limited and KTDA Management Services Limited as respondents in the case.

In the petition, the three allege that the agency shielded some directors from the risk of losing directorship.

They have accused KTDA of carrying out the process in an opaque manner which will ensure a predetermined selection of officials, rather than transparent elections and strange rules.

They claim that the irregular and premature zonal elections saw the elections of Erastus Gakuya (Zone 2), Peter Kanyago (Zone 4), Paul Ringera (Zone 7) and Mr Phillip Ngetich (Zone 8).

At the same time, Justice Korir has transferred a dispute involving the leadership wrangles of Kiru Tea Factory to the High Court in Murang’a.

The Judge said in a ruling that everything points to the fact that the matter should be heard by the judge in Murang’a.

He said shareholders of Kiru Tea Factory should also be allowed to attend the court proceedings and there was no special reason given why this matter should proceed in Nairobi.

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