Rival groups clash at Murue coffee farmers’ meeting

Murue Coffee Farmers Cooperative Society

Police officers disperse members  after chaos erupted during  Murue Coffee Farmers Cooperative Society meeting  on January 14, 2022.

Photo credit: George Munene | Nation Media Group

Two rival groups clashed during a special general meeting of the troubled Murue Coffee Farmers Cooperative Society in Embu County on Friday.

The meeting convened to discuss farmers' welfare was disrupted after members exchanged kicks and blows. It took an intervention of the police to restore calm.

It all started when one group proposed that an audit be carried out to establish how the Sh66 million borrowed by the society management to promote coffee farming was spent. The other faction other opposed the suggestion, saying the exercise will be too expensive.

The opposing group said Murue Coffee Farmers Cooperative Society was in a financial crisis and there was no need to spend more money on the audit.

A bitter exchange ensued which degenerated into physical fight.  

Following the fight, Embu cooperative officers hurriedly called off the meeting and told farmers to disperse.

"We want the society's books of accounts audited so that we can establish how Sh66 million was spent," Mr Samuel Kinyua said.

The farmers appealed to Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya to intervene to save the society from collapsing. Some of the farmers suggested that the entire society management be dissolved to pave way for fresh elections.

"We need new officials to run the society," another farmer said.

They claimed that they had not been paid for the coffee delivered to the society last year due to leadership wrangles. The society's chairman John Maruku, has, however denied that money was embezzled.  

Mr Maraku claimed that the wrangles witnessed in the society were politically motivated. Area police boss Aden Alio said officers had to respond fast to prevent destruction of property.

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