NEW HORIZON: Safaricom new boss takes over from acting CEO Michael Joseph

NEW HORIZON: Safaricom new boss takes over from acting CEO Michael Joseph

Safaricom is today marking the start of a new era as Peter Ndegwa takes up the reins, becoming the first indigenous Kenyan chief executive of the telco.

He officially takes over from founding CEO Michael Joseph, who made a comeback in acting capacity last July after the death of former boss Bob Collymore on July 1.

Safaricom board of directors announced Ndegwa’s appointment on October 24 last year, with his term commencing on April 1, 2020.

His profile is rich.

He joins Safaricom from Diageo PLC, where he was the managing director of Diageo Continental Europe. According to the telco’s board, Ndegwa brings a wealth of experience in general management, commercial and business strategy, and sales and finance operations, having spent more than 25 years in various roles within the financial services and fast-moving consumer goods sectors in Africa and Europe.

“We are confident that Peter will carry on our vision of transforming lives while keeping us focused on meeting our customers’ needs and holding us to our new commitment of being simple, transparent and honest,” board chairman Nicholas Ng’ang’a said.

Ndegwa is the third substantial chief executive of the company following in the footsteps of Joseph ( 2000-2010 ) and the late Collymore (November 2010-July 2019 ). He has a big shoe to fill owing to his predecessors’ success at the Nairobi Securities (NSE)-listed telco, which has remained a leading service provider, accounting for 64.8 per cent of mobile subscriptions in the country.

Its M-Pesa platform recorded the highest market share of 98.8 per cent in the second quarter of the 2019-20 financial year, the Communication Authority data released yesterday shows.

Joseph yesterday confirmed Ndegwa would be assuming his new role today despite being in self-quarantine, having come into the country from Tanzania. He has been participating in Safaricom’s meetings and engaging the board for the last two months ahead of his official duties.

“I will be with him for the next few months guiding him through. It is a slow process, but he understands the company well,” Joseph told the Star on the phone.

The firm yesterday bounced back to its over Sh1 trillion market capitalisation on the NSE as investors anticipated the change of guard.

It had moved 13.08 million shares valued at Sh1.06 trillion by 2pm, with share price strengthening towards Sh26.50 from Sh26 on Monday, an indication that investors were upbeat about the firm’s first native Kenyan CEO.

Last week, Safaricom’s share was among those hit by foreign investor flight due to the coronavirus crisis, sinking to a low of Sh23, with market capitalisation hitting below Sh900 billion.

Safaricom is 35 per cent owned by South Africa’s Vodacom, with the Kenyan government enjoying a 35 per cent stake. Twenty-five per cent is traded at the NSE, while Vodafone Group has a five per cent stake.

In the country, the company has 34.1 million subscribers in a market that has a total subscription of  53.2 million – CA data. It is followed by Airtime with 14 million subscribers, Telkom (3.3 million) and Equitel with 1.7 million.

King of Thailand ‘isolates’ from coronavirus with 20 concubines

King of Thailand ‘isolates’ from coronavirus with 20 concubines

Thailand’s controversial king has taken over a luxury German hotel to isolate from the coronavirus — along with a harem of 20 women, according to reports.

King Maha Vajiralongkorn, 67, reportedly booked the entire Grand Hotel Sonnenbichl with “special permission” to break the lockdown in the Alpine resort town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, the Independent said, quoting German media.

But rather than isolate, he moved in a harem of 20 concubines along with a team of servants, the UK paper said.

Grand Hotel Sonnenbichl in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany

Grand Hotel Sonnenbichl in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany

The king, widely known as Rama X, planned an even bigger party — but 119 members of his entourage were forced to return to Thailand amid fears they had the potentially deadly bug, the report said.

It was not clear if his fourth wife, former flight attendant Suthida Tidjai, was even with him.

His takeover made local news because hotels in the region have been forced to close to stem the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

But the Grand Hotel Sonnenbichl was given special permission to host the king and his entourage because “the guests are a single, homogenous group of people with no fluctuation,” a spokesperson for the local district council said, according to the report.

Thailand king marries bodyguard, promotes to queen in surprise ...

The often controversial Thai king’s extravagant move sparked further outrage in his homeland — with the hashtag “Why do we need a king?” appearing 1.2 million times on Twitter within 24 hours of news of his German trip first breaking, the Independent said.

Vajiralongkorn is not thought to have made a public appearance in his country since February, the Times of London said — even as it records more than 1,500 coronavirus cases and nine deaths as of Monday, according to John Hopkins University data.

Vajiralongkorn became constitutional monarch when his father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, died in October 2016 after 70 years on the throne.

The Thai foreign ministry and the embassy in Berlin did not respond to requests for comment from the UK Times.

Kenya confirms 9 new COVID-19 cases, 59 in total- Ministry of Health

Kenya confirms 9 new COVID-19 cases, 59 in total- Ministry of Health

Health CAS Mercy Mwagangi confirmed that nine more patients tested positive for Covid-19 bringing the total number of cases within the country to 59.

Speaking outside Afya House on Tuesday, March 31, the CAS noted that 234 samples had already been tested for the virus in the last 24 hours.

Image

Dr. Mercy Mwangangi confirms 9 more people have tested positive, bringing the total to 59 cases.

1668 contacts of the 59 patients who tested positive were being monitored closely.

“In the last 24 hours, a total of 234 samples from suspected cases of Covid-19 have been analyzed in our various laboratories. We have received confirmation of nine people who have tested positive for coronavirus disease.

“This now brings the total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Kenya to 59. Tracing of the contacts of the confirmed cases is ongoing,” she stated.

508 of the contacts were discharged after completing the 14-day quarantine period.

“Currently, our teams are monitoring 1160 close contacts of confirmed cases,” she added.

On the country’s level of preparedness, the CAS pointed out that Mbagathi Hospital isolation centre has a capacity of 120 beds, Kenyatta University Teaching and Referral Hospital has a bed capacity of 300 beds.

Image

In an address on Monday, March 31, Health CS Mutahi Kagwe noted that the disease was increasingly being transmitted through community interactions and put in place additional measures  to curb its spread.

“We must now raise our level of alert and intervention measures. For now, we need to protect our youth as Boda Boda riders and therefore we will require every boda boda to carry one passenger.

“The rider and passenger mast wear masks for protection. We are spreading out masks in the counties for this purpose,” he remarked.

Details: Why UHURU hired private security guards to serve as Government informants on Coronavirus

Details: Why UHURU hired private security guards to serve as Government informants on Coronavirus

Private security guards have been enlisted to bolster Government efforts in fighting the Covid-19 outbreak in Kenya.

The guards, employed by private security companies will serve as a standby force to assist the Government as it strives to enforce Covid-19 orders.

According to a statement by Protective Security Industry Association (PSIA) released on Saturday, the sector had already started organising its membership of 700,000 into groups to handle different tasks.

The sector provided that different firms had already contributed some of their numbers to support the Government.

“The teams are already working and we are in constant consultation with relevant offices,” confirmed Cosmas Mutava, Chairperson at the Protective Security Industry Association.

Kenyan Security Guards to Carry Guns, Make Arrests Under New Gov't ...Currently, more than 600 officers are undergoing training on how to sanitize and use protective gear without endangering their lives.

This training is designed to trickle down to the other members.

Coordination of the guards will be effected through the communication and command centre that will relay information from the security officials to the national centre and vice-versa.

According to General Delano Kiilu, Secretary-General of the Protective and Safety Association of Kenya, the officers would serve as primary informants for the government.

 “Our guards will act as primary informants and we immediately transmit the same information to national emergency centre,” Kiilu stated.

Security companies in the country fall under the list of essential service providers who can operate outside the curfew hours.

Shock as police arrest RUTO’s supporters holding a secret meeting to strategize his 2022 Presidential campaign

Shock as police arrest RUTO’s supporters holding a secret meeting to strategize his 2022 Presidential campaign

More than 750 people were stopped from holding a meeting at the Maanzoni Lodge in Machakos County to strategize for 2022 amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Police officers on Monday, March 30, arrested Maanzoni hotel manager Chris Musau and the leader of a youth group consisting of 750 people.

Officers who acted on a tip-off claimed that the group had convened to discuss Deputy President William Ruto’s 2022 presidential campaign.

Machakos County Commissioner Esther Maina confirmed the incident and stated that charges would be levelled against the two.

“Yesterday, I got information from the public that there was 750 youth who were at Maanzoni lodge.”

karibumaanzoni hashtag on Twitter

Chairman Mr Chris Musau Receiving The TaxPayers Appreciation Award From Kenya Revenue Authority’s Assistant Manager Mr Simon Mbuka in 2018 Photo/Courtesy

“We arrested the manager and Wachira, their youth leader,” the county commissioner stated.

Maina added that the group was flouting the Public Health Act and the directive by the Ministry of Health to ensure that there was social distancing between individuals.

“How can they allow 720 people to stay together at a time when the country is fighting against the Coronavirus pandemic?” she questioned.

Further, she stated that the two would be charged while the 720 youth would be screened and released.

Athi River police boss Catherine Ringera said they were not under arrest and that they would be screened before being released.

“It is hard to hold such a group for now. We will test and screen them before they are released,” she said on Tuesday morning.

Is Waiguru’s impeachment a case of ‘a prophet without honor in her own country’?

Is Waiguru’s impeachment a case of ‘a prophet without honor in her own country’?

A Member of the Kirinyaga County Assembly is seeking to have Governor Anne Waiguru removed from office.

Mutira MCA Kinyua Wangui is readying the motion on grounds of what she terms as a gross violation of the Constitution, abuse of office and gross misconduct.

The notice of the motion was signed by the county assembly speaker on Monday evening awaiting the official filing

“The County assembly NOW resolves to remove Hon. Anne Mumbi (herein referred to as the County Governor) from the office of the county governor of Kirinyaga, pursuant to Article 181 (1) (a) & (c) of the Constitution of Kenya 2010, Section 33 of the County Governments Act, 2012 and the County Assembly Standing Order. No 58,” the motion reads.

According to Ms Wangui, the governor has deliberately refused, failed and/or neglected to deliver the same for the financial year 2018- 2019 which failure amounts to a gross violation of the Constitution and the County Government Act.

She further accuses Governor Waiguru of undermining the authority of the County Assembly

The MCA cites Article 176 (1) and 185 (3) and (4) of the Constitution, as read together with Section 8 of the County Government Act, which empowers the County Assembly to legislate and offer oversight as well as approving county plans and policies on the development and management of the County’s infrastructure and institutions.

She states that the Governor is mandated to submit the county plans and policies to the county assembly for approval.

“That the governor’s failure to comply with Section 30 (2) (f), (j) and (k) of the County Government Act 2012 not only undermines the power and the authority of the County assembly to offer oversight and approve various developmental plans but also greatly clogs the wheels of the Wanjiku’s oriented development in Kirinyaga County,” the motion reads.

Governor Waiguru is also on the spot over several tenders that the MCA claims were irregularly awarded.

They include a tender on evaluation report for proposed upgrading of Kagumo market that was prepared on December 20, 2018.

According to the MCA, the tender was awarded to Joames Investment Limited but without following the due process yet the award to Joames Investment limited had not been cancelled.

“The tender was unilaterally undertaken by Master Rock Construction Company whose bid was non- responsive thereby violating the Constitution and the Public Procurement and Assets Disposal Act, 2015 and the regulations therein,” the motion reads.

Another tender listed is one that was to procure the governor’s vehicle at a cost of Ksh.15, 000, 000/= that was allegedly irregularly awarded despite the same having been procured during the previous County Government regime of Joseph Ndathi.

“(This) action amounts to imprudent use of public resources, and in furtherance of the corrupt practices,” the MCA said in the motion.

Waiguru has been at the centre of the controversy surrounding the land as she demanded assurances on how the facility will benefit Kirinyaga residents, particularly in terms of jobs.

Among the Governor’s requests were 30 per cent of manual and non-technical jobs at the facility to be set aside for Kirinyaga residents.

Murango lamented that the project had been held up for too long due to the protracted negotiations between Waiguru and Kemri.