The jury is out on whether a recent dress down of KTDA directors by Kenya’s Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua may have precipitated David Ichoho’s hurried and untidy resignation from his position as Kenya Tea Development Authority Holdings Ltd (KTDA’s) chairman earlier this week.
In a hastily drafted resignation letter scribbled on a ruled exercise book page with a black pen, and marked received by KTDA Holdings on 11th July 2013, Ichoho indicated that his resignation would take effect from tomorrow 14th July 2023.
“I hereby tender my resignation as the chairman of KTDA (H) with immediate effect from Friday, 14th July 2023 at 1400hrs,” said Ichoho in a scanned PDF copy of the letter which Money & Markets newsroom has seen.
However, a telling press release issued by Media Intel Kenya, a local public relations consulting agency, issued to newsrooms earlier today may have given away the reason that may have forced out Ichoho who was serving his second year in the giant small-holder tea farmers organisation.
In the statement, Media Intel Kenya pointed out the proceedings of a tea sector reforms conference held two weeks ago where the Deputy President threatened to use the National Intelligence Service (NIS) to push some errant KTDA officials from office.
During the conference, Gachagua challenged KTDA to carry out meaningful reforms for the benefit of the smallholder tea farmer.
The DP hit out at some individuals, saying he will be inviting the NIS to move in and conduct an audit.
Below, find excerpts from the Media Intel Kenya press release:
“Farmers are very good people and have sent us details. Somebody has travelled 36 times out of the country on farmers’ money. You must agree to work with us or you lose everything, otherwise, as a government, we have a way of removing you from office so that we work together.
“We have received very crucial details from farmers, some of who have texted me because I have never changed my number. I have done a few cross-checking and we are going to give our National Intelligence Service to verify so that we are not accused of being unfair. Once that is processed and verified, we shall call you the directors and tell you the truth so that we can agree on how to move forward,” he said.
Ichoho took the reins as KTDA Holdings Chairman in June 2021 following the nationwide ouster of the previous tea factory and KTDA board directors in line with the Jubilee Government’s directive for reforms in the smallholder tea farming sub-sector.
Soon after taking up the role, he said farmers had exercised their rights and decided “…to make leadership changes with a view of charting a new direction towards a sustainable and profitable farming in tea sub-sector for smallholders.”