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IEBC to conduct elections of KTDA directors – Kenya News Agency

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The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is set to conduct elections of directors for the 54 small-holder tea factories managed by the Kenya Tea Development Authority (KTDA), slated for June 28, 2024.

This is the first time IEBC is set to oversee KTD directors’ elections, where over 600,000 tea farmers across the country are set to participate in the polls.

Addressing the press at a Kericho hotel following a security briefing of Ministry of Interior and National Administration officers, (IEBC) and the Tea Board of Kenya (TBK), TBK Director Kennedy Kaburi, representing western Kenya, said IEBC will supervise the voting process across the seven regions in the country.

He said that the elections will mark a significant milestone in the tea reform transformation journey.

“We shall use a simple method: ‘one grower, one vote.’ This is as a result of the tea reforms we have done. The IEBC is going to manage and conduct the exercise. The Commission will nominate the returning officers for each of the factories as well as appoint the counting clerks in all the poll centers. The Tea Act 2020 provides for the directors of our factories to stay in the factories for three years, so the three years expired in the month of April, so on June 28 this year we shall be going to the elections for our factory directors, “he added.

Mr. Kaburi said the Ministry of Interior and National Administration officers were well prepared to ensure law and order were maintained and the elections were conducted without any disruptions.

In conducting the poll, the TBK Director said the IEBC will be guided by a manual of elections released by TBK, who will act as observers during the elections and ensure the exercise works out seamlessly without issues.

Also present at the press briefing, TBK Chief Executive Officer Willy Mutai revealed the voting exercise will be through a secret ballot system based on the ‘one grower, one vote principle’ where a farmer will get an equal voting stake.

The previous voting system was based on the number of shares a tea farmer had, an issue which many famers claimed favoured those with big farms and many shares.

Mutai added that the Commission is also expected to publish a list of qualified candidates, including the voter register, in all the tea buying centers ahead of the voting exercise.

“Elections will be held between 7am to 3pm and we expect to have 328 elected directors for the 54 small holder tea factories who will serve for the next three years. IEBC will be conducting the elections in all 54 factories in the country, and as TBK, we shall just oversee to make sure justice and preparedness for free and fair elections prevail for the farmers,” revealed Mutai.

He called upon the tea farmers to vote wisely for their best leaders.

“As TBK, we want to wish the farmers to exercise their right and role to elect their best leaders who will be manning the factories. We are urging them to continue harvesting their tea as they also campaign until they elect their directors,” said Mutai.

A voter shall, on the date of the election, present the following documents to the presiding officer for verification: a national ID or passport; pay slips for green leaf delivery for any two months in the twelve-month’ period preceding the date of the election.

Eligible candidates are required to submit a Sh10,000 non-refundable fee, ID card, growers slip for the 12-month’ period preceding the date of election, valid KRA tax-compliant certificate, EACC clearance, a valid certificate of police clearance, academic certificates and professional certificates, a self-written application, credit reference bureau certificate (CRB), among other documents as shown on the manual for the election of directors of small-holder tea factories.

The security briefing brought together security officers from the tea-growing counties of Kericho, Bomet, Nyamira, Kisii, Narok, Kakamega, and Nakuru.

By Sarah Njagi

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