LSK Demands Resignation of Toror Tea Factory Director Following Allegations of Sexual Misconduct


The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) has called for the immediate resignation of Mr. John Chebochok from his position as director of the Toror Tea Factory. This demand comes in the wake of serious allegations of sexual misconduct against Chebochok, which were highlighted in a recent BBC documentary and have sparked widespread public outrage.

The BBC documentary, Sex for Work: The True Cost of Our Tea, aired in February 2023, exposed systemic sexual exploitation within the Kenyan tea industry. The report included undercover footage and survivor testimonies that led to Chebochok’s dismissal from James Finlays Limited and a ban from their properties.

Despite these grave allegations, Chebochok was elected to the position of director at Toror Tea Factory on June 29, 2024. This election has drawn sharp criticism from various quarters, with LSK leading the charge against what it describes as a failure of the electoral process and a setback for women’s rights in the industry.

In a statement issued today, LSK expressed deep concern over the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission’s (IEBC) vetting process, which allowed Chebochok to stand for the directorship despite the serious allegations against him. The LSK criticized the IEBC for what it calls a “simplistic and laissez-faire approach” to candidate vetting, which they argue is inconsistent with the constitutional principles of leadership and integrity outlined in Article 73.

“The election of Mr. Chebochok to this position undermines efforts to combat sexual and gender-based violence within the tea sector,” LSK President Faith Odhiambo said in the statement. “It sends a troubling message that individuals with allegations of sexual misconduct can still attain positions of power, perpetuating a culture of impunity and fear among women workers.”

The Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA), which manages the Toror Tea Factory, has stated that it played no role in the election process, which was overseen by the IEBC. KTDA emphasized its commitment to high standards of corporate governance and its stance against gender-based violence.

However, LSK is calling for more stringent measures from KTDA and other stakeholders. The society’s demands include Chebochok’s immediate resignation, a review of the IEBC’s vetting procedures to ensure compliance with the Constitution, and the implementation of robust policies by KTDA to protect workers from harassment and exploitation.

“KTDA and all associated entities have a moral and legal obligation to protect their workforce from any form of abuse,” Odhiambo asserted. “Allowing Mr. Chebochok to assume a leadership role not only jeopardizes the welfare of female workers but also tarnishes the reputation of the Kenyan tea industry on the global stage.”

The LSK’s stance has received widespread support from activists and human rights groups, who view the call for Chebochok’s resignation as a critical step toward ensuring justice for survivors of sexual abuse and enforcing ethical standards within the industry.

As the debate over Chebochok’s election continues, all eyes are now on the IEBC and KTDA to address these concerns and take meaningful action to uphold the rule of law and protect workers’ rights in Kenya’s tea sector.

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