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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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Business

PHOTO: What is happening in Amani Ridge the Place of Peace.

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Today 11.08.2020

Welcome to Amani Ridge and take a tour to our green spaces, home to 546 different types of fruit trees!

You will also meet a dedicated team on the ground doing the final closure of the perimeter wall.

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OPTIVEN: All our projects have you in mind

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We think of accessibility to social amenities, education needs for your children, all social, recreational and economic needs as well.

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Business

How Covid-19 lifted my Sh1,000 business

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Covid-19 has hit the working class hard. President Uhuru Kenyatta during one of his recent statements warned of 500,000 job losses in six months should Covid-19 persist.

And women bear the brunt of the pandemic as most of them work in the informal sector, the hardest hit by the job cuts.

For Purity Namalwa Nasilwa, however, losing her job was a blessing in disguise.  Instead of drowning in sorrow and self-pity, she used the chance to make a financial comeback.

The 22-year-old sat for her KCSE in 2018, attained a B (Minus) grade, earning her admission to Kenyatta University but lack of school fees did her in.

ACCEPTED FATE

“I had accepted that my life and fate had entered into a coalition to mess me up…Poverty had been hanging around my neck like a guillotine and I had accepted that God’s grace was sufficient for me to enable me live a day at a time,” she says.

Her dream to pursue a course in hospitality went up in smoke when her parents could not afford her campus fees. Countless visits to her Kiharu MP’s office in search of help bore no fruit.

She immersed herself into casual labour in food joints in Murang’a town.

“For one and a half years, she eked a living in Mitura (African sausage) and soup joints, earning between Sh100 and Sh200 as daily wages,” she says.

In the course of toiling to make ends meet, she got pregnant.

PREGNANT AGAIN

“It did not come as a surprise to me. When life seems harsh to you, you get psyched that misfortunes are part of life. I found myself looking forward to giving birth and even expecting to get pregnant again. I cared not a damn…Little did I know I was sinking slowly into depression,” she says.

Then Covid-19 arrived into the country, all food joints in Murang’a were closed and she was jobless!
“Even when Governor Mwangi wa Iria revised the trade sanctions a month later, the damage had already been done since many small businesses had ran out of capital to pay rent and sustain profitability margins,” she says.

With house rent arrears of Sh5, 000 and hunger staring down at her and her baby, Ms Nasilwa knew her life was nearing unbearable limits.

Purity Nasilwa at her business premise in Murang’a County, preparing the immune boosting juice. PHOTO | MWANGI MUIRURI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

She sought help from her mum.

RENT ARREARS

“She gave me Sh1,000. It was a sacrifice since she was also experiencing the vagaries of Covid-19-induced financial hardships. My first instinct was to go shopping for food reserves. But wait; and afterwards? The rent arrears were accumulating,” she got thinking.

She had read, in the Bible, about the mustard seed and how it multiplied to generate wealth. The more she thought along that line, the more she got inspired to devise a way of making that Sh1,000 grow.

“I cracked my head for a strategy. An inspiration from nowhere struck my head and opened my horizons far and wide. I became aware that there was a market craze that was building about natural fruits touted to be immunity boosters against Coronavirus,” she says, adding that “that was my Eureka moment.”

She bought food reserves worth Sh300. She used the balance, Sh700 to buy Sh40 avocadoes, Sh50 pineapple, Sh50 bananas, Sh80 beetroots, Sh100 garlic, Sh50 sugarcane and Sh30 tomatoes.

JUICE BLENDING

“With Sh300 in hand now, I bought some plastic cups and jugs worth Sh200 and the balance of Sh100 became my cash in hand,” she says.

The next stop was at a neighbour’s house who gave her a juice blending machine.
She then approached a friend who runs a cybercafé along Biashara Street of Murang’a town for a space to display her new enterprise on a small wooden table.

“It must have been God’s favour since, from my starting stock, I made about 3,000ml of assorted juices, all of which were bought at Sh1,500 equivalent to a net profit of Sh900!” she says.

While many companies hurt during the coronavirus pandemic, some small businesses like Ms Nasilwa’s are seeing more and more customers by the day.

RELIEF FOOD

“It was too sweet to be true because my sales kept on growing by the day. I have expanded my start-up to include immunity booster uji (porridge) made of organic tuber flour, smooth and fresh juices, detoxes, puddings and salads, “ she says noting that on a bad day, “ I’m guaranteed at least Sh600 as profit.”

She does not require ‘Kazi Mtaani’ or relief food to earn a livelihood since she is self-reliant.

Ms Nasilwa is now more positive about life and says her future is premised on two hopes —either she gets sponsors to see her pursue university education that poverty denied her despite being qualified, or get a breakthrough in her business.

“My greatest lesson in life out of this Covid-19 experience is that not all calamities are bad…Covid-19 pandemic to me was a blessing in disguise. Again, I have come to realise that there is no small money in the hands of a determined mind to multiply it,” she says.

By nation.co.ke

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