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#SellSafcomSharesNow : The Reputational Damage On Safaricom Is Irreparable So Don’t Sink With It

CAPTION: Opposition strongholds have been given until Friday 10th November to ensure that Safaricom remains as a distant memory. Already their logos are being defaced across the country. 

During the advent of liberalised mobile telephony, Kenyan billionaire Naushad Merali partnered with Vivendi of France to win bid for second mobile phone operator. They brought to Kenya burly CEO called Philippe Vandebrouk and rolled out a high-quality system.

Unlike Safaricom which purchases its equipment from tenderprenuers who provide substandard products at inflated prices, KenCell had good equipment, not the Chinese counterfeits that Safaricom procures. That’s why calls keep getting dropped on Safaricom than on any other network.

The CEO Philippe Vandebrouk was a French conservative who wanted KenCell to remain as a niche product. He wanted it for the upper middle-class only. Infact during the entire duration of his stay in Kenya, he resided in the presidential suite of the Intercontinental Hotel, much like Nairobi Governor and reformed street-urchin Mike Sonko is guzzling County resources by staying at the Presidential Suite of the Lillian Towers Nairobi Safari Club.

It is this narrow minded thinking that perhaps blurred the company’s thinking, because they retained a pricing model that was unsuitable for the ordinary mwananchi. For starters, the cheapest talk-card was Kshs. 600 which was slightly pricy for the cost-sensitive Kenyan, in this Kadogo economy. Secondly they retained a per-minute billing as opposed to per-second billing. Finally and most important, they did not have text messaging.

Michael Joseph the South African nicknamed Mr. 10% for demanding commissions of that amount from Safaricom’s providers, saw the gap. And quickly capitalised on KenCell’s weaknesses and that is the simple reason that Safaricom took off. And in the thick of their problems, Kenyans stuck through them as they got their act together.
Fast-forward to 2017, and we are in an almost identical situation, though the motivations are slightly different. Safaricom is one of the most expensive cellular operators and data is where they steal from customers the most. Their other cash-cow is MPESA, where their ridiculous pricing model has made it one of the most expensive transfer systems, despite the obvious fact that it costs them nothing. Roaming on Safaricom is almost non-existent as the company has made it so expensive.

CAPTION: Safaricom customer-care centers which are normally congested forcing people to pick tickets and queue, were empty across the city yesterday. This boycott is no joke. 

For the longest, individuals, consumer lobbyist groups, parliamentarians, have called out Safaricom for their seemingly anti-competitive practices, to no avail since Safaricom has almost bribed every living organism in the regulator Communications Authority of Kenya. Infact, CAK has become like a department of Safaricom, meaning that all complaints about the company largely fell on deaf ears.

With the transfer of Nzioka Waita, a senior Safaricom official to Statehouse, the company knew it had the ear of the Head of State himself. Meaning that it’s interests became intertwined in the political objectives of the ruling class/status-quo. This saw the benefit immensely, beginning with being single-sourced by the Government for the security CCTV contract, despite the fact that they’re not manufacturers of equipment.

More and more projects came their way including the botched My 1963 Matatu card, and ofcourse the transmission component of IEBC’s tallying. All these were deals acquired solely due to the proximity of the company with Statehouse, making it an integral player in the current electoral stalemate we are facing today.

Finally and most crucial is the handing over of data and information to government operatives. Most prolific is the giving out of Jacob Juma’s location to police, who then dispatched the assassination team nicknamed “Kwe Kwe Squad” working under the Directorate of Criminal Investigations, to murder him. Bloggers who have found themselves on the wrong side of the pen, are often arrested with the help of tracking from Safaricom. This is why all Kenyans, irrespective of their political affiliations should welcome this boycott.

After the success of Oppositions call to boycott elections, NASA had confidence in their numbers despite the obvious attempt by IEBC to inflate the final tally by a massive 10%. Armed with this, NASA called on its supporters to boycott three companies, beginning with rogue telecoms operator Safaricom. It is expected that counties where Raila Odinga enjoys a near fanatical support base, will adhere to the boycott on a 100% scale. This means that more that 1 million subscribers are set to move within this first weeks alone.

CAPTION: Airtel is almost unable to cope with the high demand and such queues were witnessed in many parts of the country, as people heed the Opposition’s call to boycott Safaricom. 

Ofcourse the irony of this is that Jubilee supporters have gone on a full-throttle fear mongering mode, antagonising their NASA counterparts with condescending questions like “how will you survive without Safaricom?” because the services the company offers have been framed by the partisan mainstream media, as a basic need. They forget that subscribers stood with Safaricom through its incubation period, and endured the discomfort of its poor network, dropped calls and exorbitant pricing.

But I guess it’s time to end this abusive one-sided relationship. And seeing this challenge on a corporate which has long evaded accountability due to its capacity to bribe media, is sort-of therapeutic. I’m pretty sure that Raila Odinga had initiated communications with the company in a bid to resolve this amicably, but the arrogance and bad advise in that gaffe-prone company means that they always walk the higher ground. They consider themselves beyond negotiations with small people.

Gay Lawyer Nani Mungai is one of the lawyers who has benefitted immensely from Safaricom’s woes. In Conjunction with some insiders, he has ensured that Safaricom fails to settle pending cases, as his fee note keeps both his company and his insider-links afloat. He is the one who probably misadvised former CEO Bob Collymore to ignore the “empty rhetoric” from the opposition, thinking that it was just another passing cloud.

Gay Nani Mungai is the owner of the Wasini apartments where it is said that former Kiambu Governor William Kabogo murdered university prostitute Mercy Keino. Indeed, we have seen young girls lose their lives in the company of older “sponsors” in recent days, indicating the moral malaise in the country. Nani Mungai would prefer the company to have its name dragged in endless litigation, for as long as his fee notes are being honored, irrespective of the long-term damage to the brand.

CAPTION: Gay Lawyer Nani Mungai (far left) is the one who has fleeced Safaricom by misadvising Bob Collymore not to settle cases, thus dragging the company’s name in the mud. 

And despite efforts to clean its image largely by bribing journalists, Safaricom’s rot caught the attention of a critical bloc of audiences, who after reading about the company’s corrupt activities, were more than convinced that the company is involved with Government through unscrupulous networks.

It’s now time for the under-dogs in the telecommunication industry to take advantage and rise. We also ask them to avoid the mistakes that Safaricom has made along the way, and find ways of being more inclusive and shunning mediocre advertising agencies like Scan Group. We also ask them to shun greedy, predator lawyers like the Gay Nani Mungai who prefer companies to get dragged in mud just for his fees to be paid, instead of quick settlements.

CAPTION: The #Resist movement gained traction yesterday after the father of the nation Raila Odinga formally migrated from Safaricom to Airtel.

Which is why we are advising anyone with Safaricom shares to immediately sell because this company is tumbling down. It will take years to undo the damage and reputational shocks that the company has undergone. The company is so in shock that they’re yet to provide a statement, distancing themselves from allegations of such impropriety and professional negligence.

Meanwhile father of the nation Raila Odinga is set to release names of other companies set to be boycotted later on. William Ruto is accusing him of extortion, yet he forgets that these companies and their respective shareholders will bear the consequences of these actions on their own. Gay Nani Mungai misled Bob Collymore not to settle many cases because he was making money off Safaricom. Yet when shit hits the fan, it is Safaricom suffering, not the Gay Nani Mungai.

The corporates who allow themselves to be misled by greedy lawyers will only have themselves to blame when judgment day comes.



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