Trouble is brewing at the oldest government publishing house Jomo Kenyatta Foundation over alleged harassment of employees, high-headedness and verbal venom by the Managing Director Rosemary Barasa.
Sources say she insults and terrorizes employees openly and has managed to intimidate and box managers into mere spectators of the operations at the publishing house.
The publishing house, we can confirm, has been making huge losses and has been marred with, among other things, delayed salaries, unmotivated staff and numerous resignations from once loyal employees. Over 7 employees, who were once loyal, have called it quits in the last three months.
Sources privy to the situation say things became worse after Barasa’s contract was renewed for three more years last December, despite dwindling profits. The contract was renewed by the then Cabinet Secretary for Education Amb. Amina Mohammed on of December 1 even though Barasa will hit 60 (retirement age) by next year.
For instance, the firm made a loss of Ksh118,368,000 in 2018 compared to Ksh11 million profit in 2017 and Ksh87 million in 2016.
Here’s the financial statement:-
According to sources, one of her greatest undoing that has caused the dip in profits is the low staff morale due to a toxic working environment coupled with her single-handedness in making all decisions, ignoring advice from key departments like marketing and publishing. She, according to sources, has also rendered all committees useless including Training Committee, HR Committee, among others constituted to help make key decisions in proper running of the institution.
“She is from hell,” a source retorted, adding, “She always uses sacking threats to intimidate and box staff in to silence. She is also full of nepotism.”
The 59-year-old Barasa joined the Foundation in March 2012 as the Company Secretary and Head of Legal Department, appointed the Acting Managing Director in 2014 and confirmed to the position in December 2015.
The employees are now hoping that the new Chairperson of the Board Khadija Awale who was appointed in February will be able to look into the matter and bring back sanity to the once prestigious and high-performing publishing house.
JKF which was established in 1966 is a parastatal under the Ministry of Education, with a mandate of publishing educational materials and awarding scholarships to bright but needy students to secondary school. Books published include course materials from Early Childhood to Tertiary level.