• The region is suffering economically as leaders politick.
• The senator wants the KTDA to be audited to protect farmers.
Politicians engaged in Tangatanga and Kieleweke political activities have been accused of dividing Mt Kenya region.
The two groups, according to Nyeri Senator Ephraim Maina, are wasting time that should be spent on initiating and monitoring development projects.
Maina, who spoke on Tuesday, said the region is suffering economically and socially. Its key economic activities – dairy farming and coffee and tea cultivation – were on their knees.
The health and education sectors are also limping as the elected leaders politick.
“In most counties within Mt Kenya, elected leaders especially MPs are already divided such that they can’t come together to address issues affecting the region,” Maina said.
He said it was shameful for the leaders to ignore President Uhuru Kenyatta’s directive that they should focus on development.
Central leaders should compare themselves with those of Nyanza or Rift Valley where, he said, there are no political groupings and leaders are focused on service delivery to the electorate.
The Tangatanga grouping is aligned to DP William Ruto who is eyeing the presidency in 2022 while Kieleweke is allied to President Kenyatta who is serving his second and final term.
Maina complained that tea farmers have suffered economically to the extent that some have uprooted their tea bushes.
Those buying fertiliser for the farmers, he said, have been doing so to make money and not to boost tea production.
“After the tea is sold at the Mombasa auction, the farmer has to wait for one year before getting paid,” the senator said, adding that even after waiting, the farmer still gets very little money.
He called for the auditing of the Kenya Tea Development Authority. “Tea is actually a public commodity and more than 70 per cent of the tea produced in the country is produced by small scale farmers.”
He accused KTDA of being a corporate of corrupt cartels instead of serving smallholder farmers for which it was formed to assist.
He said every tea farmer should have a vote in the agency and that should not be determined by the weight of his shares as is the case in corporate law.
The senator has petitioned for the change of the law so that KTDA is audited by the auditor general like other public bodies.
"This should be done to establish why farmers have been losing their money for the last 20 years."
On coffee, Maina said, "The pricing of coffee is nothing but exploitation of farmers." He asked the government to put in place a centrally managed system to bring back the coffee sector where it was in the 1970s.
He called on leaders from the region to concentrate on such issues instead of "actively engaging in politics way ahead of next general elections".
(Edited by R.Wamochie)