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January 20, 2019

A letter from a new Kenyan chief executive

A letter from a new Kenyan chief executive
A letter from a new Kenyan chief executive

Bill Gates founded the Microsoft Corporation in his parents’ garage in 1975 after dropping out of college. He initially struggled but went on to become amongst the richest men on the planet as his company conquered all in its wake.

 Last week in a shock to watchers of the blue chip company, Bill Gates left the company to be steered by new CEO Satya Nadella.

Nadella did what could only be considered in many circles as revolutionary. He sent an email to his staff on his first day on the job answering the following questions in depth; Who am I? Why am I here? Why are we here? The answers were well-thoughtout and designed to inspire workers to rally behind the new company leader.

As I went through this wonderful letter, I had to think about what kind of letter would be sent by a Kenyan CEO on his first day on the job. I suspect it might be a bit different. In fact a new CEO of Bora Products Limited would probably send out a letter like this:

 From: [email protected]

 To: All Employees

 Date: Feb 15, 2014

 Subject: RE: Johnson Mlafi – Bora Products New CEO

 Today I’m humbled to take up a new role at Bora products. I remember following the exploits of this company in the media as it grew from a little company to now its blue chip status.

I came here because I was appointed by the board who saw my work in the last few years working with some of the biggest brands in Kenya be they parastatals or private firms.

While many of those companies have suffered huge losses when I joined and board members are still in court over corruption allegations, I assure you that there shall be none of that here.

Therefore, I recommend that you ignore the court order barring my appointment. This is the work of Bora Products competitors who don't want us to go far.

 Who am I?

 I am 76. I have been married for most of my adult life having acquired wife number three wives in the last decade. I’m not like some fellows in this town who get a new wife every half a decade.

I have 20 kids from my legal wives and a few others who appeared along the way. You will meet many of these children in the next few weeks as they go through the human resource screening process.

If there is any work requiring staff, many of these hard working individuals will take up these roles. If you do not feel that this company is working for your career objectives, these stellar citizens will also be happy to take up your role.

 Why am I here?

 So people have claimed that I was appointed to run this company to the ground on behalf of some unscrupulous individuals on the board.

Nothing could be further from the truth. I am here to improve things. We must do more. Be more. If we can get a job done by an even better tool or vehicle why shouldn't we?

If staff can get more opportunities for team building to improve, why not? But I insist that if we are to hire or buy new facilities, all procurement should be done through me.

All team building must be done at my cousin's farm out of town as we shall get a good deal from him. All company transport must be provided by friendly bus companies which I have links with to ensure good deals for the company. I am here to make things better.

 Why are we here?

 We are here to work hard for the company and ensure profits for the shareholders. Therefore, you will be expected to work hard and not complain.

Pregnant women will be required to spend as little time as possible on maternity. Paternity leave is henceforth abolished. Men don’t do much to help their wives with the baby anyway.

Allowances must also be minimised except where top management is concerned as this group is the most important asset in a company and has the most experience.

 We are here to ensure that you work so hard that you have no time for anything else. Weekends are optional as they give staff some respite from which they struggle to come out when a new week begins. With this I hope that you will be able to work with the new management quite well.

 Yours sincerely,

 Johnson Mlafi


Venue review: City View Lounge and Restaurant, Twala

 I was in Kitengela last weekend. This is a part of the country currently in the midst of a ‘real estate boom’ with signs announcing plots of land for sale all over the place.

In the middle of this rapidly-growing part of Kajiado county is a little village called Twala where I had a cold beer… or seven as I watched a top-of-the table Barclay's Premier League match between Liverpool and Arsenal.

 This was at the City View Lounge which is in a one-storey building with a canvas roof which is still under construction just like much of the area.

Even with the construction going on, walking in was a pleasant surprise as the place could compete with many of the upmarket lounges popping up in Nairobi with prices that leave you with no money to designate a driver.

 The pub itself is a small place with a few seats which were the comfortable leather variety. Across the main entrance was a counter where a few folks were having drinks. All eyes were trained on a large flat screen TV near the counter where the big match was happening.

 As I settled down to watch the game, I ordered a cold beer which was served by a pleasant young lady in white blouse and black trousers that came at Sh160. The people watching the match were locals who looked like they lived in the area but worked in downtown Nairobi.

Also in the audience of mainly guys in their thirties was an older mzungu man who was walking around barefoot. He didn’t’t seem to enjoy it. Also in that audience was Janet, the proprietor of the establishment joining her customers in the general merriment.

The match turned out to be a mauling of the visitors from London, Arsenal, much to the delight of Manchester United fans.

 A quick recap of the venue;

 Good: Great service, decent décor, reasonably priced drinks, emergency exits available, sports fanatics can watch their game, clean washrooms.

 Bad: Inconvenient location out of town.

 My verdict: If you find yourself out of Nairobi the place people drink in that part of the city is City View. Make sure you say hallo to the Janet the friendly owner when you get there.

 You can reach the writer on twitter @jamesmurua

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