- Simon KiraguKenyans.co.ke
After years of extensive exposés as a journalist, Daily Nation investigative reporter John Kamau has been offered a slot as part of a government team tasked with providing reforms in the tea sector.
Speaking to Kenyans.co.ke, Kamau welcomed his new appointment to be a member of the board of the National Steering Committee on the implementation of tea regulations wholeheartedly.
According to a Gazette Notice published on Monday, June 29, Agriculture PS Peter Munya constituted an eight-member team to be part of the new committee tasked with helping the ministry improve the ailing tea sector.
The new regulations are expected to exploit ways to make tea farming a lucrative business hence boosting farmers' earnings.Daily Nation head of content John Kamau.
"To me, it is a new challenge for my career as a journalist... I am being beaconed to offer solutions, I researched the tea sector since independence and wrote about it. I can offer a historical background to inform the future.
"The role is because of history and not journalism. I use my historical knowledge to inform my reporting and now I will be able to use it to offer solutions. That is why I am excited about it," stated Kamau.
Kamau was appointed to the committee alongside former PS Irungu Nyakera, former MP Langat Magerer, Fredrick Muthuri Muriithi and the late John Michuki’s daughter, Ms. Wanja Michuki.
Other members include former Tea Board of Kenya director David Chomba Gachoki, and Catherine Nyamboke Mogeni.
The committee was mandated with evaluating the policy, regulatory and administrative reforms in the Tea Value Chain and providing their opinion to the Cabinet Secretary for information and consideration.
The team will also serve as the bridge between the ministry and tea sector stakeholders by receiving and reviewing written submissions from the players in form of emails, letters and other formats on key regulatory and policy issues.
They are also tasked with empowering smallholder tea farmers and giving them control over the handling, storage, sale and earnings.
"It is notified for the general information of the public that, the Cabinet Secretary, Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Co-operatives has appointed a steering committee to be known as the National Steering Committee on the Implementation of Tea Reforms," read the notice in part.
Veteran tea broker Jacob Kamau Kihiu was selected to chair the committee.
In the span of his career, Kamau has experienced threats to his life for calling out dodgy but powerful chief executives who have been frustrating the sector.
In October 2019, Kamau confirmed to this writer that he had received a letter from Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) boss, Lerionka Tiampati, through his lawyers, threatening to sue him over the publication of a series of incriminating exposés.
In his exposés, Kamau unearthed how KTDA bosses tactically swindled farmers' revenue in several schemes that were illegal and had at some point been exposed by Richard Leakey in 2000. Leakey was the Head of Civil Service and Secretary to the Cabinet at the time.
The journalist, at the time, said that he would not succumb to tycoon's threats and that he would continue to publish the articles and expose rot at the private entity.Agriculture CS Peter Munya speaks at the National Agriculture Summit at Safari Park Hotel on Wednesday, February 26, 2020
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