The recent Kuza Awards list of winners has exposed one sleeping giant, Ebru TV, which managed to secure a certificate of participation. This is after spending thousands of shillings on twitter influencers to prop up its chances of scooping trophies. What really is happening to the once promising TV channel?
Ebru television Turkish chief executive officer Dr Murat Kesign has officially called it quits at the cash strapped television station setting up the stage for one particular manager to be judged by her performance. The highly acclaimed Turkish born journalist who has been in the industry for close to two decades has already served his one month notice at the station known for its ‘perfect match’ reality show and is planning to relocate to the UK. Sources say that the outgoing CEO Dr Murat Kesign had a masterplan to turn around the station’s revenues and early this year, also featured in a Eutelsat high-level meeting with Kenyan industry giants to share his experience on how to increase TV viewership in East Africa. The virtual session was moderated by the talented Nancy Kacungira. The link to the meeting is here: (it’s been removed)
News of his resignation did not come as a surprise to many in the know about the company’s affairs because his was one of the many resignations that have taken place within a very short period of time. Before his resignation, the IT manager and the Technical manager, both of Turkish descent and with a wealth of experience spanning years, had called it quits leaving many junior staffers shocked at the move which very much seemed coordinated. The TV channel is owned on a 50-50 basis between Turkish and Kenyan investors. Ms Anarb Ahmed, the operations supervisor is said to be the one running everything at the channel as the media industry becomes extremely volatile for new players.
She even plans the budget for the stations popular dating show, cooking show, hosts and anchors’ transport and has been accused before of interfering with editorial decisions at the expense of experienced journalists and topical analysts. For example, even with the current newsroom being headed by a team that is experienced and highly equipped to run things, she still calls the basic shots. The former lecturer at Umma university, decides the type of news that go on air, what will be cooked in the cooking show and how perfect match will be like, all that while fighting with all staffers to take the lead role in anything that concerns the station. No one in the company has a permanent role, apart from madam or mathe, as she is popularly known. Accountants and marketers have been the most targeted and the company advertises for their positions after every two weeks. County news correspondents have not been spared either and one can tell from the quality of the station’s county news reviews.
It is alleged that she likes useless gossip and will often discuss employees’ issues with other employees to try and divide and rule. Political analyst Benji Ndolo called her out for what he said was dishonesty on her part. A CCTV video of the controversial Ndolo even surfaced online suggesting there was a physical altercation between him and the lady. Although Ndolo is said to be shallow and aggressive, it is said that the supervisor has created a very toxic working environment and even orchestrated the firing of Ndolo’s former soft spoken producer Beverly Vusta, who many allege cannot harm a fly. Beverly is said to have been under so much stress from the overall operations supervisor.
Last year, Primetime news anchors Diana Rachel Wairimu and Erick Munene also called it quits in a huff. Diana even went public about her resignation calling out ‘toxic bosses’ without specifying who it was she was referring to. Those we spoke to told us it was Arnab Ahmed running the station like a kiosk.
Back to Kuza awards. It is important to note that the station has in the past won several awards for excellent journalism. That is now in history as the operations supervisor sacked Victor Moturi and investigative reporter Francis Odii who won awards for the channel for many years. Moturi was a regular on MCK’s crème de la crème, and Odii won several awards from Kuza. What was the reason for their sacking? The supervisor can’t even explain it herself. Her free hand was however cut short when employees anonymously drafted a protest letter to the board of management.
By the way, the board of management is quite serious. Keen on improving the station’s dwindling fortunes, the Kenyan side of the power sharing arrangement also brought in experienced media owner Peter Munga as a consultant. Munga is credited with single handedly launching Parastatal TV Kenya which did not make it to the apex of successful Kenyan TV channels.
He also resigned in late 2020 after an altercation with the operations supervisor Anarb. Anarb is said to have bragged that she can single handedly change the station’s fortunes, but since she got the free hand to do things her way after the CEO resigned, things have gotten worse. Many people working in the media house are said to have worked for months with no pay as the HR now pays staffers in phases. Her inexperience and useless ego will only ruin things more but she is quite lucky that she has covid/pandemic to blame. Only the gullible and stupid will believe her though. The station was ALREADY suffering from her bad decisions even before the pandemic struck.
Sources within and without the station claim that the lady single handedly runs all departments within the company and for you to gain her favour you have to be a ‘yes’ person. Should you be any different to her style of supervision, you allegedly become a target of her attacks. You can be accused of anything from stealing, insubordination, wrong dress code, and lately, staffers have been told not to pick or make phone calls within the precincts of the company because they could be plotting to bring her down.
New TV stations like TV 47 and Switch TV are slowly eating into the station’s market share as recently seen at the Kuza Awards, leaving those in the company confused. The Samuel Gicharu- owned TV 47 channel raided Ebru and poached breakfast host Linda Alela and talented sports journalist Dennis Omondi. Both Switch and TV 47 have dedicated marketers raking in millions from advertisers every month, while Ebru only runs promotions for its own programs because the operations supervisor is also the chief marketer, acting CEO, chief accountant, editor in chief, perfect match producer, head of IT etc.
Multiple sources who talked to us anonymously say that in a classic case of “when you want to kill a dog, give it a bad name”, she regularly holds department meetings to soil the name of those she hates, preparing the ground for their illegal sacking. They then will be given warning letters in quick succession before being dismissed. Other workers will be lied to and because they can’t question anything, the targeted ones look as evil as they can get. If you ask her for proof of whatever allegations she makes, she fumbles without substance.
What is funny though, is that when she realizes her misdeeds, she calls those she fired earlier and offers them back their jobs. If they are desperate, they go back. She is said to have told her close relatives that the investment is the single biggest mistake they ever made as a family. Raising questions as to why she disregards professional advice.
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