By Brighton Makori.
Kisii Kenya 08 May 2021…………..Tea farmers at Sombogo Tea Factory in Kisii County have protested demanding the management of the Kenya Tea Development Agency to respect their decision of Electing Professor Stephen Bogonko as their new Director.
According to them they have protested following the Management has rejected their newly elected Director Professor Stephen Bogonko who was elected unopposed on 30 to represent them.
Protesting in Marani Town before heading to the factory and later to the assistant county commissioner’s office , where they vowed to boycott picking of tea leaves until their choice of director during an election sanctioned by the national government held on April 30 this year is accepted.
” It is shocking that on 30th we did an election , professor Bogonko was our choice , unfortunately his name is not appearing anywhere that he was elected, we demand from the management to consider our early decisions or we will boycott plucking our tea,” said Farmers
Speaking to Gusii star, Prof Bogonko stated that he was surprised when he went to Tombe Tea Factory last Monday for the meeting of newly elected directors he was barred at gate by police officers who told him they had instructions from the KTDA management not to allow him.
“I was told that zone seven that I represent was not recognized by the KTDA management, our people are tired of this marginalization, it is time that our people who are now under Sombogo Tea Factory have their own six zones to be represented with six directors,” said Bogonko. adding that tea farmers in Kitutu Chache North Constituency have for the last 18 years not been represented at Tombe Tea Factory before the construction of Sombogo Tea Factory was completed recently and that they could no longer continue being under repression.
Mose Mokaya a tea farmer in the region said that they were ready to leave Tombe and be on their own since they have a new factory at Sombogo and that anyone opposing that is an enemy of the thousands of farmers in the region and that they would stop supplying tea leaves in protest.
Gisiora said that they have been frustrated in terms of employment at Sombogo with majority of the employees coming from Tombe area and that they wanted their able sons and daughters to be given priority since they would reconsider their supply if their grievances are not addressed.
Benard Mosiom also noted that they were not happy that tea buying centres at Sombogo have remained mobile centers for very many years while those at Tombe that were opened recently have been registered which was a clear case of discrimination.
Tea Farmers in Kisii and Nyamira Counties carried out elections for new directors to represent their interests in the 14 KTDA run factories in the region with a large turnout of farmers in a process supported by the national government.
Leaders also from the area led by Sensi ward Member of County assembly Paul Angwenyi have challenged upon the Tea Board to chip in and rescue the situation
“Tea farmers affiliated to Sombogo Tea factory were allocated Zone Seven , why are they again taking it away , as leaders from the area we are on with talks so that we can have amicable solution to this problem”
Paul added that indeed election was done on 30 where Tea farmers from Zone 7 settled on Professor Nyanchieo Bongoko whom they trust that will bring drastic changes for the better of the farmer .
Now he has called upon the management of KTDA and the Government in general to help the framers from many challenges they are facing .
” For many years Tea farmers have been going through many challenges and now when they have seen something good coming out following new reforms through the representative New director, others are making them to protest” posed MCA Paul .