Monday, February 28, 2011

My Country, Their Beer

The Nigerian purge of Kenyans at EABL continues unabated as the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Labour and the Ministry of Immigration look on in silence.

Qualified Kenyans are being pushed out to create room for ‘Expatriates’. Our corrupt immigration department continues to issue work permits to foreigners yet Kenya has an excess of  qualified  Kenyan talent educated both at home and abroad. Top  executives who have joined EABL from who-knows-where in the last 18 months include Mr Geoff Biggs (sales director), Adesola Sotande (head of finance), Mr Mark Abbey, (group controller) and Mr Cephas Alfebuameh (operations director).

Two senior  Kenyan managers ‘resigned’ from the  beverage manufacturer last week, joining an exodus of top executives from the region’s foremost beer maker in the last six months. EABL group human resource director Alban Mwendar and EABL International managing director Patricia Ithau left the company on Friday. Their resignation was communicated to employees through a circular. Though EABL chief executive Nigerian Seni Adetu is on record stating the company is not pushing anybody to leave the Ruaraka-based beverage firm, the continued exit of top managers and an influx of expatriates is causing disquiet among employees. Among those who have left include Ken Kariuki, former corporate affairs director and Ann Mambo, who headed the sales department. Others are head of strategy George Karanja, group head of financial reporting Stanley Njoroge. Interestingly, however, the company has recorded a significant rise in the number of expatriates, estimated at close to 40, although Adetu said some are not EABL employees, but advisers seconded to the firm by Diageo, which owns 49.9 per cent of EABL.

Analysts suggest that a major cause of the purge could be the gross mishandling of EABL's Ugandan subsidiary, Uganda Breweries Limited, which has been at sixes and sevens over the past few years, completely clueless as Nile Breweries Limited, a subsidiary of SABMiller, has been running circles around them, seemingly at will.

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