The very short redundancy notice was made verbally between a week to two weeks for affected staff who got the news by surprise.
In some cases, however, ‘Business Today’ blog, with close links to Mshindi’s right hand man at “360 Degrees” - one Samuel Born Maina, already ran a list of top editors expected to be axed from ‘Nation’ from late December. They had inside information with fingers pointing at Mshindi.
At the editorial department, the changes affected many key staff including a long serving news editor at NTV who brings a household political satire program every Friday. Heads of procurement and marketing were affected in a purge said to have taken an ethnic bias.
It is not only the redundancy that is making news at Nairobi’s Kimathi Street news hub. It’s the allegations against the editorial director Tom Mshindi that are as startling as they are curious.
One of the those sacked at 'Nation' is a correspondent from Kirinyaga. He reportedly penned a story perceived to be adversarial to Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru.
Mshindi is also accused of having taken up public relations jobs, through 360 Degrees, for several Governors in his home region. He is said to be also covering Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua, Transport CS James Macharia and Environment Secretary designate Keriako Tobiko, among others.
Those in the know, say Mshindi has taken it upon it himself, to ensure ‘negative’ stories on his clients are blocked and unworthy ‘positive’ stories are run. That has led him to clash with many editors - most of whom have been dropped. Such instructions, our sources add, are either verbal and or through email. Its is a clear a case of conflict of interest.
The case of a parliamentary editor, who has served for 26 years, is more intriguing. Our sources say that the name of the editor was on the list before it was suddenly dropped on intervention by some powerful forces in State House.
Besides ethnic bias, our sources say some women were either dropped or retained for either denial or grant of sexual favours to top men in charge of the redundancy across all departments.
Our sources say when Mshindi and GME Mutuma Mathiu made a short sojourn to the rival, Standard Group - the duo went on a 'poaching' spree which amost destabilized the NMG editorial department then under Wangethi Mwangi. Mshindi would later return to NMG via Uganda's Monitor magazine.
In addition to poor returns, Aga Khan has been reportedly keen to sell the Nation Centre building. Our sources say he fears that flooding of noisy bars and other unrelated businesses could see the value of the asset plummet even further.
When reached for comment, the group’s Spokesman Clifford Machoka asked Cofek to put the questions in writing on Friday. He was to respond by close of business. He didn’t. When reminded by text, he could only text back later saying “still looking into it”. Weekend calls and texts went unanswered.
Editorial director Tom Mshindi could not pick our calls. But responded late Saturday by text saying “… I have seen the message. Will talk to you tomorrow (Sunday)”. He hadn’t called by 2pm when the story went live on our website. The message to Mshindi eight detailed allegations.
Cofek undertakes to carry NMG’s response, should it be forthcoming, as soon it comes.
Cofek expects the Institute of Human Resources Management (IHRM) to cite NMG HR director David Kiambi for casually handling the staff redundancies.
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