In preparation for the upcoming factory elections across Kenya's tea sector, the Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) has issued a stern warning to candidates vying for director positions.

In a recent statement, KTDA's top management emphasized that the unauthorized use of the organization’s logo and facilities in campaign materials is strictly prohibited.

The agency, responsible for managing the affairs of over 600,000 tea farmers across 54 factories nationwide, expressed concern over candidates using KTDA's brand names and trademarked symbols in posters and online graphics.

Such actions, they clarified, do not represent an endorsement by KTDA and are deemed unethical.

"It has come to our attention that several candidates vying for director positions in tea factory elections are under scrutiny by the public on social media for alleged unethical behaviour," the agency stated.

"KTDA acknowledges these concerns and urges the election oversight agencies to ensure that candidates cleared to run are of good moral standing."

Emphasizing their commitment to integrity, KTDA highlighted their zero-tolerance policy towards gender-based violence, sexual harassment, and corruption.

The elections, scheduled for June 28, 2024, will follow the principles of transparency and fairness, adhering to the "one farmer, one vote" principle. 

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), mandated by the Kenyan Constitution, will oversee the electoral process, appointing returning officers for each factory to ensure compliance with electoral laws.

Despite KTDA's warnings and the oversight provided by IEBC, concerns have arisen regarding the eligibility of some candidates, particularly those with pending court cases.

International buyers have also expressed unease, underscoring the importance of electing leaders with unblemished integrity to oversee Kenya's vital tea industry.

In recent years, the Kenyan government has implemented various reforms aimed at enhancing governance and transparency within the tea sub-sector. '

As the election date approaches, KTDA continues to emphasize the importance of ethical conduct among candidates, urging them to campaign responsibly and refrain from using unauthorized materials.

As stakeholders prepare for the crucial factory elections, all eyes remain on IEBC and KTDA to uphold the integrity of the electoral process, ensuring that only the most qualified and ethical candidates assume leadership roles within Kenya's tea factories.