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End of an era as iconic retailer Ebrahim Supermarket shuts

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One of Kenya’s oldest retailers, Ebrahim Supermarket, has closed down its Moi Avenue branch in a move that ends its 75-year run in Nairobi.

The retailer sold all of its stock on discounted prices throughout last week in a massive clear-out that ended on Saturday, marking its last day of operations.

The building that housed the retailer on Moi Avenue will now be converted into stalls and shops with the owner seeking businesses to buy space through posters.

LOST JOBS

At least 30 workers lost their jobs in the move that has closed the chapter on one of the city’s most iconic supermarkets established in Kenya’s pre-independent era.

A worker said employees were not privy to the goings-on and expressed surprise at the closure that now leaves them jobless.

“Hatujui ni nini anataka mara ni stalls na maduka,” (We do not know what exactly is happening because we are setting up shops and stalls now), said the worker.

Ebrahim was established in 1944 as a supermarket with electronics and computer distribution unit next to Sarova Stanley Hotel on Kenyatta Avenue.

The owner also established an outlet on Kimathi Street that sells electronics.

CLOSED OTHER OUTLETS

The supermarket has in the past closed other outlets in Kisumu, Nakuru and Mombasa leaving only the stores in Nairobi.

“Ebrahim was already an established shopping outlet by 1977 when I joined the University of Nairobi as a first-year student,” recalls veteran journalist Emman Omari.

“You can’t really talk about old supermarkets in Kenya without mentioning it.”

Ebrahim’s closure also follows the near-collapse of troubled retailers Nakumatt and Uchumi, two other pioneer supermarkets that have shut down most of their outlets amid ballooning debts running into billions of shillings.

Source: Business Daily

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City residents adopt carpooling concept to beat jams, steep fares

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This informal means of transport has its downsides, but is useful for many in Nairobi

Would you share a private car with a stranger headed in the same direction and share the costs instead of taking a taxi or matatu? Well, it seems some Nairobi residents are increasingly adopting carpooling to save themselves from the high cost and bad driving habits of matatu drivers.

At Car Wash, a sprawling middle-class neighbourhood in Kasarani, residents share a ride every morning, saving money and time spent in traffic, and arriving at work in style and more comfortably.

They are also escaping a desperate situation: the dire lack of public service vehicles (PSVs). The few that ply this route often leave them stranded on the busy highway with no connecting vehicles into the estate.

Car Wash estate is located between the Roysambu and Githurai 45 neighbourhoods, on the outskirts of Nairobi.

Isolated between two major highway exit points, the area has no dedicated PSVs and so residents created a carpooling scheme.

Carwash residents board private cars as several private cars line up to pick commuters on the way to town.

Ms Judy Mugo is a resident of Kasarani. She lives at a place called Seasons, which is closer to Mwiki Road than it is to Thika Road.

Late for work

For her commute to town, where she works as a customer care agent with a bank, she opts to walk hundreds of metres to Car Wash. Her aim? To ride-share with the residents there.

“Before carpooling, I used to be seated in a matatu at 5.30am. Then I would arrive in town very early and idle around waiting for the bank to open,” says Ms Mugo.

But if Ms Mugo decided to leave her house late, she would always get to town late for work.

“It takes more than an hour to access town via public means and you pay Sh80 while it takes me a maximum of forty minutes in a private car and I pay Sh50.”

Victor Mwaura, a young businessman based in Ngara, has also ditched matatus and depends solely on carpooling rides to get to work.

Private car owners who spoke to the Sunday Nation said the motivation behind ride-sharing is simply to help distraught residents.

“I live in Kahawa Sukari. I decided to start sharing my car when I saw the number of people stranded by the roadside,” says Timothy Odhiambo, who often stops to pick up residents on his way to town.

It has been one year since he started sharing his car with Car Wash residents.

“I pick up passengers daily on my way to town for business. I do it out of kindness,” Mr Odhiambo insists, “The Sh50 they pay as fare does not make much financial sense to me.”

His sentiments are shared by Stephen Njenga, a businessman based in Westlands, who picks up passengers at least thrice a week, depending on his schedule.

Carwash residents board private cars as several private cars line up to pick commuters on the way to town.

The ride-sharing concept here is disorganised as passengers scramble for cars. This puts off some drivers, who drive off never to stop again.

Mr Odhiambo claims to have stopped picking up passengers for some time after losing his side mirror in the scramble.

Ms Mugo wishes passengers would queue up to board.

Ride-sharing is widespread in the US and western countries but it is still a relatively new concept in Kenya.

“The concept here is informal but is more common upcountry, where a person going to the city will stop at the matatu stage and pick up a passenger or two,” says Ms Kellie Murungi, senior consultant at Lattice Consulting, a boutique finance and strategy advisory firm.

But the Car Wash example perhaps points to a country that is ripe for organised carpooling.

Former Kiambu County executive committee member for transport Nancy Njeri, now the transport planning manager at the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy, said carpooling is a good concept that the government should promote and encourage.

source:Sunday Nation

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Why Ipsos-Kenya sacked analyst Tom Wolf

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Sacked Ipsos analyst Tom Wolf says he is still in the dark over the exact reasons that led to his axing from the leading market research firm.

After more than a decade as the corporate face of Ipsos Kenya (previously Steadman and Synovate), this past Monday, Dr Wolf announced that his contract had been terminated effective March 31.

“This is as a result of the decision made by Ipsos in Paris that Ipsos-Kenya should not include ‘political’ survey results in its public releases for the foreseeable future … on the basis of this decision, it was judged that my position as a research analyst had become redundant. I was therefore given notice, which took effect on March 31 this year. I am thus no longer associated with Ipsos,” he had said in a statement.

In an interview, Dr Wolf said his sacking came as a surprise and no plausible reason has been given to him for the decision. But he admitted having been given several months’ notice.

“I can tell you that I have never received from Ipsos in writing or even verbally any major criticism of my work. On the contrary, it was often praised, by both local and global Ipsos management. However, on several occasions, we were advised that we were releasing ‘too much’ information to the media at a time thus swamping them with data, and that my presentations to the media were at times ’too academic’.

“I am not saying my work is perfect, not at all. But no one ever questioned the core of what we were doing,” he said.

Dr Wolf’s sacking and the apparent shift in policy by Ipsos with regard to political surveys in Kenya has caused consternation as to what could have led to such a shift.

But Ipsos Kenya CEO Aggrey Oriwo told the Sunday Nation there is no change in policy that he is aware of.

“Ipsos has no intention of disengaging from political polling in Kenya. We will get back to tracking voter’s intention as we get closer to the next election. We do a lot of polling in Kenya on many issues. As always, we will continue to release it to the media on a regular basis,” Mr Oriwo said.

Two years ago, the government of Egypt ordered Ipsos’ office in Cairo closed amid criticism from pro-government talk show hosts and state-aligned newspapers for “sympathising with the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, links to foreign intelligence agencies, labour law violations, and tax evasion, all of which it denies,” Reuters reported in July 2017.

The sacking of Dr Wolf came after an unusually long period during which none of its national household surveys have been released.

Ipsos Kenya last released its survey data on September 19, 2018, some seven months ago.

“All I can say is that Ipsos was known for doing three to four surveys per year and releasing some of the results to the public through the media, while other results were client-privileged. But I am not revealing anything confidential when I say that this recent period is the longest without any such release since I started working for Steadman in 2005,” Dr Wolf said.

But Mr Oriwo rejected reports that the firm’s global headquarters has been embargoing survey results and blocking their release.

“This report is false. We have a central polling group that supports our polling worldwide. The decisions about how and when we do political polling in Kenya is ultimately made in Kenya with global support and oversight. The decision about what polling is released is made cooperatively by our Kenya and global polling team,” he said.

Mr Oriwo also said he was not at liberty to discuss Dr Wolf’s exit from the polling firm.

“As for Dr Wolf, this is a private matter and we do not discuss staff/personnel issues in the media,” he said.

Dr Wolf also questioned Ipsos’ silence on his sacking though he was “a fairly well-known figure” and for many years the public face of Ipsos in Kenya.

“Ipsos’ silence and my departure from work have made me extremely sad. Granted, it has given me a useful income and I have to enjoy being in the limelight somewhat. After teaching in high school at the Coast in the 1960s and later at the University of Nairobi, I find it quite stimulating to stand before journalists during our briefing and helping them to analyse survey results, and as you know, I also often privately complain to them when I feel their published interpretations are incorrect,” he said.

“I have also found participation in various TV and radio interviews and panel discussions most challenging in a positive way.”

Failure by Ipsos to announce his exit, he says, is what prompted him to issue a statement.

“The main reason I issued a statement to the media about my departure was that Ipsos was silent and I already had been out of work for over a week. Mind you, there was no discussion with me before I left as to how to make this public.

“In the absence of any guidance as to what the company was going to do, given that I have become a fairly well-known figure, I thought it was proper for me to tell the public. Even my colleagues in the office were unaware of what had happened until I issued my statement,” he said.

source:nation.co.ke

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Suspect: ‘My Sh2 billion not fake, give it back’

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A man charged with stashing fake currency worth Sh2 billion in a safe deposit box now claims that the bills are genuine.

Eric Adede , in an urgent suit filed at the High Court, instead accused the State’s investigative and prosecutorial agencies of switching his dollar bills with fake notes to paint him as a money launderer.

“It is true I am the owner of the box held at Barclays Bank which contained a total of $20,067,900 in 100-dollar denomination, among other items.

The DCI knows that the money is not fake and is illegally withholding it without any authority,” swore Adede.The suspect, who sought orders to compel the Director of Criminal Investigations and the Director of Public Prosecutions to surrender the seized money, claimed there was a plot to defraud him of his property.

Adede’s lawyer, Martin Oloo, told the court that the DCI and the DPP had cooked up the story that his client had fake currency “to boost their public image”.Mr Oloo claimed that the money did not form part of the criminal charges laid out against Adede.

“The prosecutors in their submissions in court stated that the money held does not form part of the prosecution. The petitioner fears that they might tamper with his clean money and substitute it with fake ones to deprive him of his hard-earned property,” said Oloo.

Fake gold

Adede was last month charged alongside Ahmed Shah, Irene Wairimu Kimani and Elizabeth Muthoni with several counts in connection with the suspected forged dollar bills and fake gold recovered inside the bank’s Queensway branch in Nairobi.

The charges stated that on March 19, the suspects conspired to defraud Muriithi Materi Mbuthia of Sh20 million by falsely pretending they were carrying out a genuine business as investors in Nairobi.Adede faced two additional charges of possessing the fake dollars and being found in possession of 41.373 kilos of brass in contravention of the Mining Act.

The Nairobi-based businessman-cum-politician and his co-accused were arraigned in court where a magistrate detained them for five days to allow police complete investigations.

This after investigators told the court that they needed to send the recovered currency to document examiners and forensic experts to ascertain if it was fake or genuine.

The verification process also involved the Central Bank of Kenya and the Department of Mining to confirm authenticity of seized metal that was suspected to be fake gold.

According to police, the fake currency had been used to con unsuspecting people before officers busted the counterfeiting ring and arrested the suspects.

Barclays Bank, in a statement, denied knowledge of the fake money stashed in the safe deposit box. Bank officials said they were not aware that one of their customers had hidden counterfeit bills, which was against the bank’s rules and regulations.

The officials said they normally don’t know what customers store in their personal safe deposit boxes.

source:standardmedia.co.ke

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