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September 21, 2018

Cops teargas Tigania tobacco farmers in protest over Sh100m debt

Tobacco farmers during a protest over non-payment of Sh100m debt owed to them by Mastermind Tobacco Ltd, Wednesday September 12, 2018. /GERALD  MUTETHIA
Tobacco farmers during a protest over non-payment of Sh100m debt owed to them by Mastermind Tobacco Ltd, Wednesday September 12, 2018. /GERALD MUTETHIA

Police officers were forced to lob tear gas to disperse angry tobacco farmers protesting their unpaid Sh100 million debt in Tigania West, Meru county.

The farmers paralysed businesses at Kagaene market and also disrupted transport along the Meru-Mikinduri road during the Wednesday demos.

The lot accused Tobacco Mastermind Kenya Limited of failing to pay them the money for leaves supplied to the firm.

Their appeal was to the national government, through MPs and Meru governor Kiraitu Murungi, to intervene on their woes.

Adam Mwirichia said the company owes for tobacco supplied since March 2017 adding that they don't want to be paid in small amounts as is the current case.

Ruth Mwari raised fears their only land used for farming the tobacco may be auctioned to repay loans they owe various financiers.

Tigania West deputy county commissioner, through his assistant Simon Kipkemei, urged the farmers to be patient.

He pleaded with them to avoid blocking the road using stones and bonfires.

"Since morning, our office has been engaging Mastermind officers in Nairobi who have agreed to pay tomorrow or Friday," Kipekemei said.

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