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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 9 November 2014


The longstanding boardroom power games at the giant Kenya Planters Co-operative Union took a dramatic turn last week after the High Court nullified the July 31 election of its directors.
In a his ruling, Justice Weldon Korir declared the poll null and void, adding that the promoters and architects of the election failed to issue a 15-day notice as required by the co-operative societies Act.
The blame, according sources, lies entirely with the commissioner for Co-operatives Patrick Musyimi whom they now accuse of calling the controversial elections.
It is said KPCU chairman William Gatei led the ousted leaders in questioning the decision to call for elections before their term had expired. According to records, their term is supposed to end next year but it was disrupted by the contested elections.
It is also being claimed that Musyimi had colluded with a section of former officials to drive the union out of business in a bid to make way for the Kenya Co-operative Coffee Exporters, which was formed shortly after KPCU was put under receivership in 2009.
Had the judge upheld the results of the controversial elections, it could have resulted in a huge financial loss including the loss of Nairobi-based Wakulima Market valued at more than Sh2 billion. Apart from Wakulima Market, the union also owns several large parcels of land and other property worth billions of shillings.
It has now come into the public domain that the elections were hurriedly done and did not follow the laws which required that a notice to hold elections has to be put in writing at least 15 days before the vote, a process which was flawed. “The notice of the elections must be in writing,” said Justice Korir.
The directors led by their Gatei lodged a suit in the High Court against the commissioner for co-operative development and the Industrialisation cabinet secretary, seeking to quash an election held on July 31.
KPCU has argued that the special general meeting in which the elections were held was unconstitutional, as no proper notice was given to the current directors. It has also argued that the elections were premature, as the term of the current directors expires in 2016, hence the election were null and void.
“The claimant board of directors was elected in 2013 for a term of three years,” KPCU said. It added that the elected officials were responsible for KPCU’s troubles and allowing them to assume office would likely return it to receivership.