Nairobi CBD Building Raided, Workers Held Hostage

  • Farmers Building along Moi Avenue in Nairobi that houses KTDA headquarters.
    Farmers Building along Moi Avenue in Nairobi that houses KTDA headquarters.
  • Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) offices based at Farmers Building along Moi Avenue in Nairobi were on Friday, April 16, raided by individuals who identified themselves as police officers.

    In a statement, the company's corporate affairs alleged that the officers showed a Magistrate's court order as their basis of raiding the office.

    In the raid, which took place in the afternoon, workers were barricaded inside their offices unable to access any other floors or exit the building.

    "The officers have held KTDA staff and barricaded them on the respective floors. The building entry and exits have been blocked denying the employees of their constitutional freedoms," the company stated.

    Police during a previous operation
    Police during a previous operation

    KTDA management noted that the raid was against a High Court order preventing such action.

    "KTDA, as a law-abiding institution, will abide by the orders of the court, and recognizing that the High Court order ranks above that of the Magistrate's Court," the management stated.

    There have been wrangles in the management of the company with President Uhuru Kenyatta on March 12 directing the Tea Board of Kenya to conduct elections in all Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) tea factories within 60 days.

    The directors of the company moved to court to stop the elections, an order which was granted by the court.

    However, the elections were held despite the orders, with the directors terming the elections inconsequential.

    “With a court order stopping the elections, on the one hand, the CS of Agriculture has, on the other hand issued instructions for the tea factory directors’ elections to be held.

    "Being an order of the court, the same also restrained the CS Agriculture, the Agriculture and Food Authority and any other persons from conducting the said elections,” read a statement by Kenya Tea Development Agency.

    In 2020, the Ministry of Agriculture gazetted new tea regulations that will govern the tea industry in the country.

    One of the regulations stipulates that all tea produced in Kenya to be sold through the auction process and the licensed tea auction organizers establish an electronic trading platform.

    Tea farmers who market the product through the Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) to be paid 50% of the delivery monthly, with the rest paid as bonuses annually.

    Tea farmers in the field
    Tea farmers in the field