Radio Africa Group has parted ways with head of content David Makali after opting not to renew his contract, Business Today has learnt.
According to sources at Lion’s Place, Makali, a veteran newspaper editor, is set to leave on Friday this week exactly one year since he was appointed to replace Charles Kerich after he was named as a member of the Nairobi City County Executive by Governor Mike Sonko.
Initial reports had indicated he had been sacked but one staffer at the Star intimated he was on a one-year renewable contract and the board appears to have chosen not to offer him an extension.
“He was on a one-year renewable contract. But Radio Africa has been doing badly especially after the government failed to pay millions of shillings it owes the media house in ad revenue. It is really struggling,” he said.
Some top managers at the media house are also alleged to have formed dodgy companies to siphon money, including from the Government Advertising Agency. Former PS Sammy Itemere, Lugari MP Ayub Savula and the agency’s former head Dennis Chebitwey are among those in court over the loss of Ksh 122 million. In total, the government owes media houses over Ksh 2.5 billion.
When he was appointed, Makali, who has worked with nearly all the leading media houses in the country, was expected to help turn around the fortunes of Kenya’s youngest daily newspaper at a time when print media is facing fierce competition from digital technology.
However, with a diminishing financial muscle, it was a herculean task from the beginning as he could not attract talent.
Due to poor performance in terms of circulation and adverts, management had last year earmarked the newspaper for closure after elections to focus more on digital and its more successful segment in digital.
The newspaper has been trying to find a proper footing since transforming from a tabloid to a political newspaper.
Top editors Francis Openda and Paul Ilado are seen as the front runners to replace Makali.