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Friday, March 28, 2008

Safaricom IPO goes tribal

Coming so soon after the bungled general elections and the subsequent flare-ups, the Safaricom IPO has since gone political and it follows that it will go tribal – if it hasn’t already. In the end, the Safaricom shareholding register will likely read more like a provincial rather than a national roll call. In a Television poll just yesterday, the question was ‘do you think the Safaricom IPO should be put on hold?” 55% said yes and 45% said no. True a TV poll may not be a true representative of the situation on the ground, but still the split was eerily similar to something we’ve witnessed recently. There are those, maybe not you, but there are those who will disregard the need for transparency and a clean fair market and go ahead to buy the shares based solely on where the leaders backing the IPO were born.

The IPO aside, what is more worrying is a scenario where the mobile telephone services themselves go the blue and orange way. If Kenyan politics are anything to go by, and speaking strictly of the telecommunications industry, hitherto blue political areas could go green. And orange areas could go red in defiance. Kenya has been painted oranges and bananas in the past. After the blue and orange elections fiasco, you can be sure every national debate is likely to take a tribal angle and Safaricom is no exception. Is Kenya now about to be painted green and red? We have a knack for sweeping things under the carpet. There is peace thank God but let’s not kid ourselves - tribal tensions are still simmering under the surface and although they may not manifest in uprooted railways, they may take on a mellower but equally lethal angle. To this end, Michael Joseph might want to book an appointment with one Linus Gitahi for some advice.

Nobody wishes for a repeat of the chaos but if God forbid they return, looting and burning will depend on, among other things, the colour of your kiosk. Quiet Celtel will either benefit from some free marketing or be drawn into Kenyan tribal wars. Or both.

Na bado. That is just one sector.


Anonymous said...

Wanjiku na bado!!!What a coincidence bonga na bob and Celtel guys can tell you that they are doing booming business at the moment with pamoja tarriff....If they extend the period then you know what will happen, safom will baki with their mbao scratch card....bonga na bob is the way to go.....I think let us leave tribes out on this thing unless you want to tell me that people who frequent Kumekucha are only luos and kiuks...then i am definately in the wrong forum....Let us be inspired by morals, values and conscience


Anonymous said...

So safaricom is not good now because ODM says so? When will Kenyans grow up and start thinking for themselves without relying on politicians who themselves earn a fortune..Ksh 1 million per month?

Why can't we be like other countries in the world which are less tribal, eg our close brothers in Tanzania? I don't have any
problem with anyone boycotting Safaricom IPO as long as it's their own decision and not whipped up hysteria from opportunists.

What's the point of destroying something so special we all helped build? Politicians should just condemn themselves for failing to unmask the ghosts of Mobitelea. Surely, they have not exhausted all avenues available!

We don't need nanny politicians who interefere in every aspect of our lives, yet when they say we jump, many of us obey, no questions asked!

Safaricom has been turned into political football yet ODM chieftain Raila has gone underground without saying a word leaving his dogs of war to shove the muck! Pathetic poodles!



Taabu said...

Ciku you have the BALLS to say it as it is. The rest can mask the issue al the much they care but the die is cast. We have experts sprouting from every post on objectivity and investment but they can tell that to the birds who will dutifully fly high in the sky. Ours is a pathetic scenario loaded in cheap politics to cover corrupt deals.

So we buy and invest no matter the facless owners? Well, I better remain LAZY and let the industrious REAP na kazi indelee.

Anonymous said...

yes i hear when you walk up and pay for the shares..they ask you whether you are from bondo or from Kiambu'

and then odmers wonder why they live in perpertual poverty....unbelieavable!

about Mobitelea..why not ask ruto or Kosgei to tell us? asfter all they were the power brokers when the group grabbed the shares..tell us ruto or ask your former godfather Moi

Anonymous said...


am surprised/wary of why banks are bending over backwards to give loans to purchase these shares, considering how much easier it is to draw blood from a stone.

i think i get how it works

owners of safcom also own the banks (i use the term own to describe share holding capacity).

so essentially they are funding you to buy their product. so with one hand they lend you 10 bob which you promptly pay back to the other hand, and the genius is that now you both own the product for sale, but he pockets the loan interest and transaction fee for working with both hands (loan and share processing) absolute genius.
and remember if anything fails and you go to the regulator/arbitrator (gava or PM or whoever) they can do absolutely nothing.

further down the road, they can hold you ransom by disposing another 5b shares at a throw away price of KES2.00 and literally bring down both the company and value of stocks, but still manage to get their cut.

Edwin said...

Public money was stolen to get mobitelea shares.why should i be part of it?kenyans have to learn that unless you put pressure on our leaders they will never give us what is rightfully ours.someone had to sacrifice for sec 2a to be repealed...and i could go on and going to sacrifice and remain" lazy "and poor

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