Bomet MCAs now go for Governor’s ‘neck’ over controversial tea agreement with Iran, want deal made public

Wednesday, July 7th, 2021 22:17 |
Bomet County Governor Hillary Barchok speaks at his office during a past media function. Photo/PD/FILE

A storm threatening to scuttle the relations of Bomet county assembly MCAs and Governor Hillary Barchok is brewing over a controversial trade agreement between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the county.

The agreement to have tea produced from the county sold directly to Iran was reached two weeks ago between Iranian ambassador Jafar Barmaki and the governor.

The two-Barmaki and Barchok-even flagged off one truck carrying what they termed as a 27-ton first consignment of tea to be shipped to the foreign country.

Neither the MCAs nor the directors representing tea factories from the region were present during the event held at the county offices.

Only two ward representatives- Robert Serbia (Embomos) and Ambrose Koech (Mogogosiek) were present.

The truck carrying the consignment had its registration numbers and company well concealed from the public eye.

A section of MCAs now wants the details of the agreement between the foreign nation and the county made public.

In what the ward representatives claim to be a deal shrouded with secrecy, Kapletundo ward MCA Richard Chirchir has now sought an explanation from the assembly’s agriculture and cooperatives committee on the factory which the consignment of tea was sourced, the quantity of the consignment in terms of tonnage and the agreed sale price per kilogram of the processed tea.

He also wants the identity of the purchaser in the Iranian government disclosed and the broad terms of the purchase agreement between the seller and the buyer of the tea.

“The chairperson of the committee should also state whether there is any written agreements or memorandum of agreements or other documents contextualizing the relations between the county and the Islamic state,” Chirchir submitted.

The MCA further wants the committee to, “state whether and how the smallholder tea farmers are going to benefit from the sale agreement in Iran through Kenya tea development authority.”

Acting Speaker Weldon Kirui ordered the relevant committee to respond within 21 days.

The move by the MCA comes in the wake of concerns from several county leaders and the public who are reading mischief on the deal alleging that the governor could be playing politics over the tea matters.

Former Konoin MP Julius Kones who is among the officials spearheading the tea reforms and former Bomet executive member Justus Maina are among those who have already come out and poke holes into the deal terming it as a fake.

Barchok has since gone mum over the issue.

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