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Tribalism, nepotism and favoritism were the order of the day in ‘collapsed’ GlaxoSmithKline

We have taken interest in a court case where a former employee sued the pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline Kenya (GSK).

The case number E 228/2021 between Pauline Wambui Gichuki vs GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceutical Kenya is of major public interest.

Apart from unfair termination, Ms Wambui accuses the big pharma company of tribalism, nepotism and favouritism in employment.

This she argues is one of the reasons that led to GSK’s failure in the market as the Human Resources functions were captured to reward cronies who had little experience and skill to keep the drug manufacturer afloat.

In 2022, GSK announced that it will be leaving Kenya but will retain its factory based along Likoni road, as a trader, under Haleon.

“Ms Pauline Wambui has a solid case. GSK filed forged documents trying to dismiss the case but it failed and now they are trying to run away from Kenya,” a source commented

According to court documents, the case came up for mention on the 24th of January 2023. The presiding Judge was Hon Dr Noelle Kyany’a of the employment and labour relations court.

GSK is presented by Denton Hamilton Harrison & Mathews (HHM) whereas Ms Pauline Wambui’s lawyer is Onindo Onindo and Co Advocates based at Hurlingum, Nairobi.

Sources we contacted over the case accuse GSK directors, hired through favouritism, for all the malpractices.

A source particularly mentioned Bridget Wachira as the General Manager who was in charge when all human resources misconduct happened.

Some staff at the company believe that Ms Wambui’s case is timely but expressed fears that the planned wounding up of the company is a ploy to defeat justice.

“They are trying to wind up market operations as they delay the case proceedings in order to escape the long arm of government. Through their lawyer HHM the respondent filed forged documents in the labour courts in an effort to dismiss the case. Judge Anne Mwaure of the labour courts granted an application to validate the respondent’s documents by a forensic expert but the respondent claims they will file an appeal which they have not filed 2 months later in an effort to delay the case further as they wind up on their operations,” a source wrote.

A legal director Mr David Swao and the law firm HHM, are the main architect of the injustice.

“David Swao and HHM have colluded to escape justice by crafting a scheme”, a source wrote.

Tribalism and party affiliations

In the last days of its demise, GSK hired not on merit, but on tribe and party affiliations.

In Kenya, some of the biggest issues we have are tribalism and nepotism. These two scourge have buried big companies that have come to our shores.

At GSK, a simple search on the professional social media site LinkedIn shows that the company hired Luos as business heads.

A 100-page court document details how the hiring was also done based on Jubilee and ODM party politics.

“They could even hire based on ODM/Jubilee politics,” a source commented.

Now GSK wants to flee the Kenyan market after fumbling its business due to HR malpractices, hiring unskilled labour and filling that in its top management, firing some staff, one of who took them to court.

GSK has listed its partner firm Haleon, a standalone affiliate to manage the fragment of its business that will remain in Kenya.

Some feel the move is to escape justice.

The exit of GSK is blamed on an influx of cheaper generics from India and locally manufactured medicines; which have dented its sales.

According to some business outlets, GSK’s manufacturing facility in Kenya is operated by Haleon and GSK was importing medicines and vaccines, whose sales were being handled by its management office, which will shut down.

Pictorial of tribalism, nepotism and favoritism



Benjamin AGINA





Brighton OCHIENG

Dr Winnie NG”ANG’A

David SWAO

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