The Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) wants the National Assembly to give it a chance to plead its case before the new tea regulations are implemented.
In a sequence of letters, the tea agency has petitioned Parliament, asking to be heard before the discussion and implementation of the reforms.
Through its lawyer Millimo, Muthomi & Co Advocates, KTDA said it had right to public participation in the law making process and as such should be granted an opportunity to submit its views.
“As per our client’s right to public participation, they would like to be granted an opportunity to be heard when the said regulations are submitted before the relevant parliamentary committee,” said the lawyer.
KTDA Power Company Limited, a subsidiary of the tea agency, has also petitioned Parliament, saying it has significant interests and obligations which stand to be affected if the proposed regulations are enacted as presented.
“We therefore notify you of our intention to formally participate in the legislative process of the proposed regulations,” read their letter.
KTDA Power Limited is mandated to manage small hydro-powers set up by the tea agency to cut energy cost, which is a major cost in tea processing.
In another letter dated June 12, KTDA employees petitioned Parliament and the Senate, arguing that the Tea Regulations, 2020, have a direct impact on them in regard to their contract with the tea agency.
Through lawyer G&A Advocates LLP, the employees said the regulations will have an impact on their rights and portend far-reaching ramifications on employment status and terms should they be implemented as passed.
The 800 employees said there were inconsistencies of the regulations with various provisions in the Constitution, non-compliance with requirement of public participation, infringement of rights of the employee, defects in drafting, deprivation of due process and failure to take account of stakeholders’
They want to present their views in Parliament. “We write to communicate our intentions to present a written memorandum to the committee on delegated legislation on behalf of our client,” read the letter.
Meanwhile, KTDA has asked Agriculture CS Peter Munya to withdraw the recently gazetted eight-member team meant to oversee the implementation of the reforms.
The regulations are meant to conduct an overhaul of the multibillion shilling industry by introducing structural reforms and policies that will put more money into the farmers’ pocket.
KTDA argued that the committee is usurping its powers by taking up its roles. Their lawyer noted that the agency is a private entity that was enlisted, registered and licensed to carry its operation within and without the country hence making the appointments an illegality.
KTDA manages over 67 factories that are owned by more than 570, 000 small-scale tea farmers. The factories said they would want to present written or oral submission to the House during the presentation of the proposed regulations.