Kutwa Tuesday

These are stories I have found (kutwad) and want to share this Tuesday

Getting a story straight: One way of getting your story out through the media is to buy space and have your statement run exactly as you mean it and straight to the public – and there are two recent instances of that.

Street Lights: First is by the CEO of Adopt-A-Light Esther Passaris who launched her transformed street lighting crusade into an anti-poverty and anti-corruption vehicle that may lead her to being the next mayor of Nairobi.

This comes after the City council of Nairobi disowned the contract they had with her company and advertised for other companies to fulfill outdoor lighting & advertising functions which were had been exclusively done by Adopt a light.

What’s in your water bottle?: The second statement is a concerned water expert who is worried that Kenyans may not understand the different types of bottled water being sold – drinking water, natural mineral water, mineral water, carbonated water etc. – and that water bottling companies are being liberal with the advertising truth. He writes that natural mineral water is bottled at source, and with no chemical treatment, which is an expensive process – and he doubts that it is possible for a company actually producing such water, can sell it at the same price as drinking water. I.e. some of the companies are making false claims on their water bottles. He also cautions users to check the amount of fluorine in bottled water as it can lead to bad teeth and bone disease (Should not be more than 1.5mg per litre)

Do they work?: Of course the media love a story waged on their papers and companies such as Kakuzi, Portland cement, Kenya pipeline, Nzoia Sugar and other companies have all bought space (in more than one newspaper) to run statements, usually denying allegations of financial impropriety. There was even an infamous statement defending Anglo Leasing a few years ago.

Esther Passaris took out 2 page advertisements in both the Sunday Nation and Sunday Standard – probably at a total cost of Kshs 1.5 million (840,000 for the Nation, and over 600,000 for the standard)

The media is happy because these statements add to advertising revenue and often lead to other statements and form a base for them to tackle stories that they may have been hesitant to delve into. IMHO, it is unwise for corporations to place such self-serving advertisements especially to deny allegations – the better thing is to lie low and let the bad press (negative stories) pass, plant a few trees & build schools (CSR is good first aid for a scandal wound), answer questions from regulators or authorities – but don’t splash your story in the media!

(See past PR statements by De La Rue and Italians in Malindi.

Communications Wananchi has applied for a data carrier network operator – DCNO license – joining other firms such as KDN, Simbanet, Telkom, UUNET and Access Kenya.

Bounty Hunter: In a Ugandan newspaper, I came across an article (copy here) about the search for Felicien Kabuga who is wanted for his role in the 1994 Rwanda genocide. The article had more depth than any story I have read in any Kenyan paper (fear of libel laws perhaps), but what continues to amaze me is that despite almost every literate urban Kenyan knowing about the search, a reward on offer of $5m (down to Kshs 335 million at current exchange rate), recent photos of Kabuga that the Nation published a few months ago, and significant evidence that he spends a great deal of time in Kenya – no one (his friends & associates) cares enough, for posterity, or for the reward, to turn this guy in. And now there’s a deadline – as the mandate for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and presumably the reward will expire at the end of 2008.

Brother please! Just came across this story – which at first I thought was from the the Onion or some satire website. But it appears to be a true story – that the wreckage of a six-seater aircraft has been found in Cameroon three months after it crashed. So should we be greatful that the KQ crash site was found within 48 hours?

Money go round: Even as some of the larger pyramid schemes are experiencing cash flow problems, smaller ones are still attracting new investors. In the newspapers every day there are more schemes in the works listed in the classified sections under business opportunity – all offering 16 – 20% returns per month, just for investing a small amount for a weeks.

Real estate The Kenya anti corruption authority (KACA) is seeking land in milimani, upper hill, kilimani or wastelands, presumably to set up a new office building. Lots sought should be 2 to 5 acres in size, close to major road and details should be sent to the Director by June 14.

– On J7 July at the Msambweni divisional office, a case will be heard between Simon Ndungu Karanja vs. Tiomin over his 1.9 ha piece of land
– Gippsland offshore petroleum of Australia is doing an geophysical survey of the Kenya coast (kipini area, ungama bay)
– Tile & carpet center are prospecting for carbon dioxide in (Kereita forest) of Kiambu district
– Oil giant Halliburton is moving is headquarters from Houston to Dubai!

8 thoughts on “Kutwa Tuesday

  1. Anonymous

    That article for Esther Passaris worked for me. Her website is bookmarked. Ofcourse this is because she already has a stunning record with adopt-a-light and I am very keen to hear more about her new works.

    I would call it very good marketing money spent.

  2. Anonymous

    i think we need to put in place a process to let people benefit from original ideas yet allow other people to benefit from this ideas too. – if esther could not benefit from the original idea then there wold not be adopt alight in the first place

  3. Anonymous

    Intellectual property management. That is the key. People with good ideas should benefit from thier ideas say 20 years, then it’s open for all who can improve on it.

  4. mudskippah

    Esther Passaris ending up as Nairobi Mayor. Whoa! But her campaign is giving her image a real boost. I’m politician-phobic, don’t know if I can trust any of them but the Esther spin is working on me, it could be an interesting stroke to see her occupying a seat next to the same powers-that-be she’s locking horns with. Signed up at her website?

  5. mwasjd

    I think we can safely say that the PR industry is coming of age in Kenya. Good business for the print media though, especially with the vibe about sms scams…

    Tile & Carpet Centre prospecting for carbon dioxide? Is that diversifying of the highest order or what? What happened to concentrating on your core business?

  6. Anonymous

    How come you have not talked about the mishap that occured on Safaricom’s website? I usually check the website for jobs and alas! one night at about 1.30a.m (UK time), I saw a job advert for ‘mavi ya kuku’. Of course I was shocked and wondered what job Safaricom had created this time (I think the company has too much money to pay employees). I was very shocked to find some dude or ‘dudette’ (being gender sensitive) called ‘Mambo Yoye’ had hacked the website!!
    Anyway, the point is, Safaricom is one of the Kenyan websites (if not only!)that has an active careers page. It’s sad Mr. Mambo decided to hack their website. Shame on him!! How unpatriotic!

  7. bankelele

    Anonymous: Best wishes to Ms. Passaris & adopt-a-light who have greatly improved with city scenery & security

    Anonymous: How can one protect an idea? You can’t stop imitation

    alexcia: Even if you’re my best friend the temptation of almost 400 million shillings would get me thinking on how to improve life.

    mudskippah: She’ll have to become a councillor first, since I don’t see the law being changed this year to allow direct elections.

    mwasjd: I think corporations pay for their story, since talking to reporters/press conference might not get the accurate story out to the public.
    Re T&C: There’s money in CO2

    Anonymous: Read about sfaricom hack at this site where it is covered in great tech detail

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