Since all the
friends were also shareholders and interested they asked that he
call a meeting to discuss as the actions seemed rather odd and
the timing also wrong as the company was about to go to market
to raise funds for further expansion.
The organisation was
a bus company that was operating mainly in a European country
and sought to expand into the rest of Europe over a few years.
At the meeting,
Kachumbari explained that the changes were necessitated by the
need to go public on happenings at the company that might
influence the decision of investors.
It was also a
requirement that a listed company has to announce when there was
material information that could affect the public perception of
the company and also the value of its shares.
In the months prior
to the meeting called by the shareholders to discuss the
changes, the company had been hit by a series of scandals that
had made it into the press.
They were not
significant enough to make the headlines which were dominated by
Brexit and Trump news but were sufficient to make it into the
business columns of several national papers.
The first scandal to
hit the bus company was when its mechanics decided to stage a go
slow in protest about their pay.
They had seen the
leadership of the company and some of the other unionisable and
non unionisable staff as well as the directors get pay rises
that widened the differential in salaries between them other
This was despite the
fact that they had been promised pay rises over the years and
none of them awarded on the ruse that they were not rising to
the productivity levels expected.
This lack of
application meant that the assets of the company were performing
sub-optimally and affecting the profitability.
The counter to this
was their complaint that they were not being given the full
compliment of tools and support needed for them to operate as
In addition, the
company had started outsourcing some of the work and therefore
accountability for output could not be apportioned
There were issues in
output and the leadership of the company could not hold the
unionisable staff accountable.
During the period of
the go slow, the head of the human resources department decided
that she would let manager in charge of the department handle
the problem much to the distress of the manger who felt that the
issue was a human resource issue which should be handled by that
This stand off
between the two managers was in part responsible for the
escalation of the go slow to the extent that it started to
As this go-slow was
playing out, another issue was also simmering between the
operations team and the procurement department.
The company needed
new low emission buses in order to comply with emerging
legislation in the country.
The operations team
had prepared the specification of the type of bus they required
and had technically qualified several suppliers in the bidding
process was such that the requesting department together with
the procurement team would assess the technical bids and once
these were equalised and the non conforming bids disqualified,
the commercial proposals would be opened and awarded to the
lowest bidder unless there were serious extenuating
In this case there
were a few and they were sorted out so technically, the lowest
bidder should have been awarded.
However, the manager
in charge of procurement decided to award the contract to the
second lowest bidder as the lowest bidder was under
investigation for integrity issues for supply of buses to a
Kazakhstani transport company under a deal financed by one of
the international development financing agencies.
The lowest bidder
contested this decision and they decided to hit the press in
order to force the company to reconsider its action.
The funding being
sourced was in order to fund the purchase of the buses.
meeting was informed that as a result of this, Kachumbari had
proposed to shift the leadership team around internally in order
to restore confidence in the company and also to help minimise
the impact of the issues of the company’s funding process.
His explanation went
to further advise that letting go of the staff concerned, who
were highly respected in their individual disciplines would send
the wrong signals at this time and also get their professional
colleagues to work against the company in support of their
It is happening in
We have a major
event about to take place in the country and the stakes are
The country has
challenges in many areas – employment, procurement, policy,
education, health and so forth which all challenge the public
(shareholder’s) confidence in Kenya Inc.
For the leadership
of Kenya Inc., it is important that all the stakeholders are not
antagonised especially if any drastic action will mean one or
several of the key stakeholders are antagonised and not
participate in the share offering.
The “silly season”
is about to start and I am rushing out to the supermarket to buy
my corn and soda so I can pop the corn, open the soda can and
sit back and enjoy the movies.
We will have some
really interesting happenings over the next four months that
could easily create several fiction and factual best sellers.
How I wish I was
able to pen stories out of real life issues.
I would be a
millionaire several times over every time our country approaches
As Kachumbari says,
the entertainment season is here!