Skip to main content

African gods: President's and CEOs

Businesses in Kenya were penalized for failing
to have such a framed portrait of then President
Daniel Moi. Today, this has been replaced by
portraits of CEOs .
(image credits. http://www.taifalangu.com )
Every Sunday, African streets are thronged with people gong to church, dressed in their best outfits, coincidentally referred to as Sunday Bests. Even children are not left out in the madness as they are decked in colourful outfits and dressed as miniature adults. Those who do not go to church are frowned upon, and seen as wrong doers and society evil bringers. Africa really puts its trust in God, however, this is mostly limited to a single day in the week.

For other days of the week, Africa prefers to have its other gods, its presidents. In several African countries, the president is an ageing man. His age is not the only thing that is greater than that of most of the population, the number of years that he has been in power is also greater than the age of majority of the population.

The last such president we had in Kenya went by the name of Daniel Toroitich arap Moi. This was a god who you could not speak ill about, for a long time. News bulletins on radio and television began with a recap of where he had been , what he did and his visionary thoughts.


Moi also happened to be a down-to-earth person, matter-of-fact, he was so down to earth that he decided not to build any roads, as this would result in them no longer being earthen. He would also make random stops all over the country with his many car motorcade , step out onto the earth to address his loving citizens. School children would line up with miniature flags to wave him by, whereas women - our own mothers- would dance and sing for him. As such, teachers and the ad-hoc women group would receive wads of  money in envelopes.

As for the motorcade, in the early 1990s, there were few vehicles in Kenya. It was at this time that I happened to be in Nyahururu and I remember a day when all vehicles on the 130 kilometre road had been held back, for several hours, at both towns. The reason was that president Moi was travelling in between the two towns. By the time he arrived in Nyahururu, he was tagged by what looked like more than a hundred vehicles, as a result of the hold back to allow his safe travel. But that is presidential motorcades for you.

To top it up, all businesses and public institutions were required to hang a framed portrait of the president  in a visible place.

This however changed in 2002 when Moi finally handed over power. If you think Africans were oppressed by his virtual presence, you could not be more wrong. Moi was just fulfilling a need for a human need of god.

This has been reinforced lately from my interactions with a few firms, in my capacity as a business writer. See your focus as a writer, is to write a great story for your reader.

In the past one week, I have received calls from public relations staff at various firms. One CEO was not happy that a story I did did not have his photo, while I included those of a "competing firm". Another CEO was sad that I had irreparably damaged his reputation by referring to him by his previous post, and not as the CEO.

Both CEOs felt that the story was dead in the water. It dawned on me that I was totally wrong in thinking that businesses made more business by informing potential users of their solutions, and of the benefits of such solutions to potential users.

No, potential customers buy the products after looking at a blown up image of the CEO, knowing his age, his hobbies and how many billions he has raked. The larger the image of the CEO, the more interest it stirs up in potential buyers.

However it fails to dawn on me why the same firms do not grace those big ass  billboards at the sides of the road with images of their CEOs.

A succesful CEO, in addition to having several portraits of themselves around the firm, should be like Zimbabwe's President, Robert Mugabe. Like Mugabe, no firm employee should use the CEOs toilet, or  comment on the CEOs age. Such employees should lose their jobs - such behaviour shows their lack of commitment to the CEO and in extension to the company.



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

When none of your business becomes your business

Martha Karua, one of our most hyped politicians, was in the news again. This time round, it appears her god-like status is now fading as quickly as it came up. Some of her constituents were demonstrating against her; odd it was that they were motor-cycle taxi men, not demonstrating against her motor cycle policies, but against her so called support for the mungiki. It is odd, since the activities of the mungiki do not affect cyclists alone, but the constituency as a whole. This had reeked a strong oduor of hired demonstrators, as she claims. As for the demonstrators and the planners, they appeared to have made a judgemental error when they claimed that their MP was supporting the mungiki. Martha Karua, been a sensible person and a lawyer, has been against the stance that the government is taking against the mungiki, by allowing other so called vigilante groups to hunt for mungiki and kill them. Been against this method, does not mean that you support the mungiki;the two aren'

Beers in Kenya: A sober opinion

Note: This is a dated post and has since been mostly passed by events. SAB Miller beers including Castle and Peroni are no longer widely available in Kenya after their exist. Sirville Brewery was bought out by Brew Bistro before being permanently shut in a tax dispute. Kenya is a land of milk, honey, beaches and taxes. I have penned, or is typed, a newer post here .  Peroni - One of the best beers in Kenya. Did a taste of canned and bottled Italian, and bottled Tanzanian I like the tangy flavour and body in Tanzanian Peroni. The can is close. Heineken drinkers will like the Italian one.  I have had a short beer swigging stint in my life. It has however been long enough for me to share my opinion of Kenyan beer. Interestingly, over the course of sharing such opinions with other drunkards connoisseurs,  I have found that we all have different views as to what beer is the best, which one makes you too drunk, or which one gives one free, extra hangover for every hangover you get

Twitter? What the hell?

Twitter has been in the news on several occasions in the recent past. It all began with a few celebrities using twitter, then it caught on to CNN and Ashton Kutcher going head to head for who gets a million followers first. Ashton Kutcher beat CNN in what was the first demise of CNN on Twitter. This event was closely by Oprah's grand entry into twitter. It was at this point that many people actually joined twitter. Oprah happened to be a major occasion on twitter, with many geeks anticipating that twitter would be overwhelmed by the interest brought on it by Oprah and her millions (if they haven't hit a billion) of fans worldwide. In fact, we gave a Before Oprah and After Oprah Twitter ages. Twitter has continued growing, with it been claimed to be the fastest growing social network in the world, with a growth rate of about 1300% per month. Ironically , a Harvard research says that only 10% of twitter users contribute to 90 % of the content on twitter; the content is known as

Nairobi's Top 4 Texas Brisket Places Reviewed and Ranked

Brisket on a bed of roast vegetables with barbecue sauce at Texas Brisket, Kikuyu  This review has been updated after a number of you suggested I try the brisket at County2County.  What's the best place to have Brisket in Nairobi? What's even brisket?  Brisket is one of the toughest cuts in a cow, from around the belly. It is so tough that it has to be smoked for about 16 hours to tenderise. But that there, is the catch.  12 to 16 hours later, it is the most flavourful and softest cut you will ever have. So full of flavour and so soft you can pick it apart with your fingers.  However, due to the long cooking time involved, only a few places offer brisket in Nairobi.  The best so far is Texas Brisket which is located within Kikuyu Railway station.  They do the meat for a proper 16 hours, and will usually have a fatty or non-fatty portion. The fatty portions are more tasty. A 500 gram serving goes for KSh. 900 and a 1 KG order comes with a serving of free fries. Their brisket has

Kenyan products: The art of punishing your consumer

This post was written in 2011. Facts may have and indeed have changed - but the conclusion has not.  Dormans instant coffee tastes better than Sasini instant coffee. Ramtons electronics are manufactured for Kenya's Hypermart Limited, yet maintain a high product quality Peanut butter used to taste so good, but you could not afford it on the pocket money that you got back in school. A few years later, you have your first real job and your first "disposable" income. You buy your first real tub of peanut butter, probably the first in your life. You feel proud that Dominion peanut butter is manufactured in Ruiru, a town that you visited in your campus days to withdraw your pocket money, it was the nearest bank ATM to your campus.  This was before Equity bank became a mainstream bank and decided to open an ATM in your campus, and before M-Pesa meant that you