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Is This Why Uhuru’s K24 TV and Moi’s KTN News Merger Deal Flopped?

Uhuru Kenyatta owned-Mediamax Network Ltd’s K24 TV rare partnership to merge part of their programming with Gideon Moi’s inherited Standard Group’s KTN News has flopped.

The expected partnership which came at a time when the President had heated up the political temperatures with leadership changes that some sources had cited that KANU leader would be the possible replacement of Elgeiyo Marakwet counterpart Kipchumba Murkomen’s Senate Majority Leader position.

That never happened as the son of Kacheliba and a former life member of DP Ruto’s URP- now West Pokot’s Senator under KANU Samuel Poghisio was tabbed.

Did Gideon feel shortchanged? Has that led him to walk out of the deal? Mediamax Networks Limited-which owns K24 TV is co-owned by President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto.

Since former DP Ruto’s man was installed, things changed as it emerged that Uhuru’s  K24 TV management had decided to alternatively boost its newsgathering and delivery competencies.

K24 TV will put in place Editors, producers, camera teams, directors to steer the company towards this new direction. The company already started sourcing for and introducing new content since June 1st in a bid to remain competitive.

Mediamax, the group company that owns K24 TV, is also considering venturing into investments in radio, already targeting the Luo and Kamba audience as well as boosting its print and digital platforms.

K24 TV has been in the headlines for the past few months as the company got into a tussle with some employees regarding pay cuts effected due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

On Friday, April 17 this year, Mediamax announced a pay cut of between 20% and 50% of all its staff citing disruptive effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

We have come up with several measures to ensure that we try to sustain and ensure that the business at this stage survives and sustains itself. Amongst the proposed measures that will directly apply to employees will be a reduction of between 20% and 50% on Gross Monthly Pay based on job levels effective April 2020.” Mediamax acting CEO Ken Ngaruiya says in an internal circular dated 17th April 2020.

A total of 36 K24 journalists, including the fired Betty Kyallo who has turned to a relationships advisor on her Youtube Channel and the male version of her Felix Odiwour(Jalang’o) protested the move and vowed not to sign letters confirming the reduction.

k24 TV

A courtesy image captions a section of an empty office at Mediamax on Tuesday, April 21.

This was followed by a go-slow from Mediamax employees citing that the letters did not document the period of time within which, they would get their salaries slashed.

An injunction was given by the court on Thursday, April 23, to bar the media house from slashing the salaries of journalists, pending hearing and determination of the case.

The court also moved to restrict Mediamax from terminating contracts or forcing their workers to take a pay cut unless it can prove the inability to pay them. Mediamax was also warned that failure to comply with the served orders, will result in the company facing legal action.

Late last month, K24 TV news anchor Eric Njoka went on live rant and revealed that a merger between K24 TV and KTN News would render him and other staffers at the station redundant in a month’s time.

While revealing that he had not been paid for two months, Njoka took his frustrations out on Uhuru Kenyatta, accusing him of not giving a fuck about his employees.

“We are working for a President who does not care. It seems we are children of a lesser God because no one is listening to us,” Njoka continued.

In 2016 K24 TV’s Eric Njoka was rumoured to have solicited for sex from another man on a dating site. Njoka’s alleged exchanges with the man were leaked online. They apparently met on gays hooker app Grindr. He has since vowed never to marry.

The highest pay cut in the Mediamax salary review of 50% targeted high-earning employees who earn six to seven-figure salaries. The biggest casualties will include Editorial Director Peter Opondo, People Daily Managing Editor Eric Obino as well as TV presenter Betty Kyalo and Anne Kiguta, who signed up big deals to join K24. Comedian and Milele FM morning show presenter Felix Odiwuor aka Jalang’o and his colleague Alex Mwakideu were also on the list.

Some staff members who had been left behind and were still pursuing the court process have since consented and requested to be declared redundant.

“With no orders on costs and with further orders that the contract of service between parties is preserved with no pay cuts but affected staff may go on redundancy along with prevailing contracts,” High court judge Byram Ongaya said in his ruling on June 11th

 

A poll to determine National viewership rating conducted by GEOpoll in February put K24 TV station at No. 5 after Citizen TV, KTN, KTN News and NTV.


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