34-year-old man killed in Kericho tea estate protests

A 34-year-old man was killed on May 23, 2023, after being shot by police during violent protests in Brooke area, Kericho County. The man, identified as Wesley Kipkurui Siele, was among a group of villagers who had attacked tea farms and destroyed nine tea-plucking machines. Police arrived and engaged the villagers in running battles, and Siele was shot and killed.

The protests were sparked by a disagreement between the villagers and the tea estate owners over the use of tea-picking machines. The villagers argue that the machines are taking away their jobs, while the estate owners say that the machines are necessary to improve efficiency. The protests have also been fueled by allegations of corruption and mismanagement at the tea estates.

The violence in Kericho is the latest in a series of protests over the management of tea estates in Kenya. In recent months, there have been protests in several other counties, including Bomet, Nyamira, and Nandi. The protests have led to the closure of several tea estates and the loss of jobs for thousands of workers.

The government has condemned the violence and has vowed to bring the perpetrators to justice. Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki has said that the government will not tolerate lawlessness and that those who are found to be involved in the violence will be prosecuted.

The violence in Kericho and other parts of Kenya is a reminder of the deep-seated problems in the tea industry. The industry is plagued by corruption, mismanagement, and a lack of transparency. The government needs to take urgent steps to address these problems and to ensure that the tea industry is managed in a way that benefits all stakeholders.

In addition to the government’s efforts, it is also important for the tea industry to engage with the communities that are affected by it. The industry needs to listen to the concerns of the communities and to work with them to find solutions that are mutually beneficial. Only by working together can the tea industry be transformed into a force for good in Kenya.

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