Is Paul Wanyagah sinking Mediamax Network, the ship he has captained for only a few months? Things are not looking good at the group’s headquarters at Longonot Place on Kijabe Street. The group owns K-24 TV, The People newspaper and the oldest Kikuyu-language radio station Kameme FM. On January 25, angry marketers demonstrated outside Mediamax offices demanding their unpaid dues.
It was a low key protest march really - and probably the first ever in that mostly quiet part of town. But NTV saw a big story. “It was a bitter parting of ways between K-24 media group and its entire sales and marketing team,” NTV reported. “The sales team arrived at their places of work this morning only to find dismissal letters for each and every one of them. The sacked employees held a demonstration outside the company’s offices. They say the row leading to their dismissal dates back over a year. The marketers claim they were sacked after they demanded their dues, which they say amounts to over Sh.8 million.”
There were actually 12 employees at the protest march. One of them, Patrick Muiya, told ET that they had gone to talk to Mediamax CEO Wanyagah about their dues, but he ordered them out of his office. They had no appointment with him, the boss hissed. “We wondered whether that was the same open-door policy he had announced when he took office,” Muiya said.
Wanyagah, the former Chief Operations Officer of the Standard Group, took the reins at Mediamax last September. He looked all set to revamp especially K24 TV which is still struggling to show its face in the market. But it looks like rolling up one’s sleeves is one thing and steadying the ship quite another.
After kicking the marketers out of his office, Wanyagah asked them to talk to the human resources manager Jackline Githinji. He was only buying time. Githinji was no help. In the afternoon, the workers were called to pick up their letters. They had been fired. “It is not that the team left, they were dismissed. There was no discussion; no debate,” Muiya said.
Mediamax is in real trouble. Since the group bought Kameme from Rose Kimotho, many workers at Regional Reach Ltd have been sent away, says Muiya. “They are using methods that are crooked,” he said, adding that many of those employers dismissed are talking to lawyers to pursue court action.
Miuya thinks Wanyagah is “a total failure” as a media manager and will kill K-24. “Instead of listening to us he told us we had no appointment.” When the workers tried to enter the premises the next they day, security men were called in to chase them away. Some of the people had worked for Regional Reach for up to ten years, Muiya said. “There was no justification for dismissing people when they had records showing all the work they had done.”
The marketers saga took place around the time popular and long-serving Gospel show presenter Lucy Wa Ngunjiri left Kameme FM under unclear circumstances. Unconfirmed reports said Wa Ngunjiri was shown the door after Wanyaga complained that her Sunday morning programme ‘Itaha ria Muoyo’ was excessively devotional. Other reports said the management wanted certain adverts run on the show, which Wa Ngunjiri said were contrary to the religious nature of the show. Despite numerous attempts, ET could not reach Wa Ngunjiri on her mobile phone or through Prayers Beyond Boundaries Ministry, the Christian organization she runs with her husband Lameck. She was said to be busy.
We were also unable to get a comment from Mediamax.
Wednesday, May 22nd
Last update04:15:44 PM