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Citizen Weekly

Sunday 21 September 2014


A coffee farmers’ Annual General Meeting at New Mitaboni Coffee Factory in Kathiani district, Machakos county turned chaotic after farmers rejected the factory’s management committee.
They accused the management of allegedly misappropriating the society’s funds and creating a conflict between the top brass and members. The society consists of five branches.
The embattled chairman, Phillip Kavita, who is a retired teacher was forced to cut short his speech after rowdy farmers booed him.
Kavita is accused of running down the society through dictatorship, applying divide and rule tactics and also using vulgar language.
So as to avoid further graft claims, the enraged members kicked out the longserving committee and installed an interim board.
The interim board will take over the management of the farmers’ assets until a new board is elected.
Although there was no injury reported, Kathiani administration police officers had a rough time controlling the irate farmers baying for the blood of the management committee.
Members installed an interim board during the stormy meeting presided over by Kathiani co-operative officer David Nzomo who is also accused of colluding with the committee.
A heated row had earlier ensued after hundreds of farmers converged at the factory for elections only to be told that the annual general meeting will not tackle the issue of elections.
The outgoing committee is further said to have opposed a proposal by farmers to sell their coffee to the new Lower Eastern Coffee Mill in Machakos town.
“The committee has been colluding with millers from other counties to milk our coffers dry. Enough is enough,” farmers said.
According to farmers, Lecom Mill is the sure way to bail farmers out of the past where lack of profitability has been the talk of the day.
Recently, farmers under the umbrella of Machakos Co-operative Union formed Lower Eastern Coffee Mill Holding Co-operative Ltd and bought a milling machine worth Sh30 million.
The union procured a mill from Brazil’s Afriz Enterprises.
The idea to form the organisation was mooted in a coffee leaders meeting held in Machakos town in 2012.
Farmers disclosed that an audit will be done to determine the extent of corruption in the society and that action would be taken against those found to have swindled farmers.
Machakos county assembly has called for an audit of farmers’ cooperative societies following corruption claims.
Ward representatives says that they were seeking to establish the financial status of the societies following cases of mismanagement and misappropriation of funds.

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