President Uhuru Kenyatta has suffered a major blow after court stopped his directives which ordered the election of directors in tea factories before May 12.

The High Court stopped elections of tea directors as ordered by President Uhuru Kenyatta through an executive order on March 12.

Justice Anthony Mrima put on hold the elections of the 54 tea factories saying some parts of the Executive Order, touched on issues raised in another matter filed by Attorney General Kihara Kariuki, which stopped Kenya Tea Development Agency Holdings ltd (KTDA) from holding elections in August last year.

The judge said the orders issued by the High Court in Mombasa are still in force and for good order, an injunction stopping the elections which were to be conducted by Tea Board of Kenya within 60 days, be put on hold.

KTDA Holdings filed the case last week, arguing that President Kenyatta has no powers to order for the polls.

Through lawyer Benson Millimo, KTDA Holdings ltd says the decision was made without affording the company a hearing.

“The President has no iota of justification in law and or fact in seeking to interfere with the Petitioner’s lawful business, affairs and internal management,” Millimo submitted.

He said the national government has absolutely no power in law and fact to sanction and preside over the elections of directors of KTDA, its subsidiaries and shareholders.

He said such government-sponsored election of directors would result into the companies, including KTDA having two parallel sets of directors as there are already existing directors in office, an “eventuality which shall be nothing short of a recipe of chaos, anarchy, confusion and breakdown in management of otherwise a stable small scale tea industry in Kenya”.

In the order, President Kenyatta said TBK will cause development of tea sub-sector (Corporate Governance) regulations or guidelines on directorships. The guidelines shall set term limits for the chairperson and directors of entities involved in the tea value chain.

He also directed the immediate remedial measures to be taken to ensure that each of the subsidiaries of KTDA has separate governance structures.

Kihara had opposed the case saying the elections should proceed as the case was being heard.

Justice Mrima directed the A-G to file his response to KTDA’s applications within 14 days. The case will be heard on April 20