Nairobi—During a recent televised interview on Inooro TV’s Kiririmbi show, Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua made an explosive claim. He alleged that powerful coffee cartels, implicated in a longstanding history of exploiting Kenyan farmers, were responsible for the poisoning and subsequent death of his late brother, Nderitu Gachagua. This revelation comes in the wake of a two-day coffee summit held in Meru.
Gachagua asserted that these entrenched cartels have been surreptitiously draining Kenyan coffee farmers dry for years, colluding with corrupt government operatives, and maintaining their stranglehold on the industry through bribes and other forms of intimidation.
Low Coffee Earnings
Gachagua shared that, despite the coffee cartels selling a sack of coffee overseas for up to $1,000, they only part with a scant $200 per bag for the local farmers. This figure is further eroded due to unfavorable exchange rates, with the farmer being paid in shillings while the coffee is sold in dollars.
Such is the perceived threat from these cartels that the fight against them, Gachagua said, could only be spearheaded by individuals possessing significant resources and security provisions—like himself and the president.
Attempt to Bribe Agriculture CS
Gachagua went on to share a particular instance in which he alleged the cartels attempted to offer a Ksh.30 million ‘welcome gift’ to Agriculture CS Mithika Linturi following President Ruto’s cabinet announcement, an overture he suggested was an attempt at bribery.
In the same interview, Gachagua also claimed that the cartels, once exposed, had spent the following day attempting to bribe central Kenyan leaders to support their cause, with increased security now provided to those who had revealed the cartels’ operations.
Despite these looming threats, Deputy President Gachagua affirmed the government’s resolve to implement recommendations from the two-day coffee summit, which include re-establishing the Coffee Board of Kenya as outlined in the Coffee Bill 2023, constructing coffee aggregation centers, and empowering the Pest Control Board to regulate pesticides and combat coffee diseases.
With these implementations, the government hopes to restore the once-thriving coffee sector. Actions are expected to commence within the next 90 days, potentially signaling a new dawn for Kenyan coffee farmers and a formidable blow to the alleged nefarious coffee cartels.