The Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) has rejected an eight-member team recently gazetted by Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya to oversee the implementation of the tea regulations, 2020.
Through Millimo, Muthomi & Co advocates, KTDA is now demanding that the CS revokes the Gazette notice and appointments within 48 hours, failure to which the law firm will launch legal proceedings against him.
"Unless you comply with the foregoing 48 hours, our peremptory instructions is to institute legal proceedings which we shall gladly do, against yourselves to realize several reliefs at your own peril and expense shall crystalise without further reference to yourselves whatsoever," read the letter to CS Munya.
The agency argues that KTDA is a private company that is enlisted, registered and licensed to carry on its operations within and without the country hence making the appointments an illegality.
It argues that the CS, without any statutory and legal mandate, went ahead and formulated the National Steering Committee on implementation of tea reforms in Kenya and assigned specific roles to the committee members.
In addition, KTDA says the roles assigned to the team are a mandate of the tea agency.
"Kindly note that the aforementioned actions amount to an illegality as they go contrary to your mandate under the Crop Act. Further note that your action amounts to abuse of the law," stated the letter.
Following outcry from small-scale tea farmers, President Uhuru Kenyatta had ordered CS Munya to oversee radical policy and structural reforms in the tea industry that will see tea farmers earn more from their produce.
The regulations also seek to protect the 600,000 farmers by dismantling cartels that govern the multi-billion shilling industry.
The team comprises veteran tea broker Jacob Kamau Kihiu who will chair the committee, former PS Irungu Nyakera, former MP Magerer Lang'at, Fredrick Muthuri Muriithi and Nation Editor John Kamau as members.
Other members are former Tea Board director David Chomba Gachoki, Catherine Nyamboke Mogeni who hails from a family of large-scale tea farmers and Wanja Michuki, daughter of late former Minister John Michuki.
STRENGTHEN VALUE CHAIN
The team is to receive and review written submissions from tea stakeholders on key regulatory and policy issues relevant to strengthening the entire value chain.
Further, they are to technically assess the merit of any new reform proposals on the sector submitted by key players.
The members are then to develop an overall Tea Sector Reform Strategy and Implementation Plan complete with a time action schedule and risk log for discussion and approval by the Agriculture CS.