Email from an Angry Former KDN Senior Staff to Senior Altech Executives

Guys, This is the email I got from a very angry former staff of Kenya Data Networks (KDN). The guy has great detailed information from working as a senior staff in the company. Calling three staff members, I realise that they all received this and it is the truth.

The mail was addressed to Craig Venter, CEO of Altech Group. Read and judge!!

The more things change, the more they remain the same. This company is just but a shell of what it used to be. You may have thought east Africa is the next frontier in IT – well, I don’t think you got it wrong, or even right. First of all, no single management from the exit of Kai one understands this company, and its market and operations. Kai had his vices but that was then.

We have seen this company deteriorate further even with the coming of ‘expats’, and mentors who do nothing but leave gaping financial holes in the company.

The company has gone back 5 years in terms of innovation. While companies like Safaricom are introducing cloud services now, we had it in then; we were developing an IP TV platform 3-4 years ago. No one in the region has those same equipments in the region. They are gathering dust in some store now. We pushed mass market services to Swift; they lost all of them, same for clients that we sent to them. Isn’t it full circle that we now want to merge the 2 companies? Something that kai had envisaged eons ago? Swift should have been the commercial arm of KDN.

You should ask yourself why Naushad isn’t pumping in more money in KDN. We are sure he is seeking suitors for the remaining stake. Do your research. While at it, give us a successful south African company in this country.

Now, there are these 5 nauseating pillars that we are told every day. Very ironical and unworkable and that’s why despite them being very easy no staff seems to remember them off-head. I would hate to be a CEO of a company where no staff is not very keen on what I preach. But then, they preach water and drink single malt whiskey.

First of all there is this anthem that’s sung everyday of cost cutting. The fat boy Dione came and did his deed. Now that you decided to shed off staff, we hope that this year you will make at least a dollar in profit. We shall be waiting & watching. That was the most stupid, futile, ill-advised method of cost cutting ever done in this company.

First of all, it had no humane side to it; the first person whom you called out was a lady who was in her 8th month of pregnancy. The least you would have done is to postpone her sacking until she has given birth. She had to contend with trauma and of course, she won’t be under any medical cover for her and the kid. She will be fine though. Money comes first we know that. It’s funny that you choose to chase whom guys who earn 40K, some even as low as 25k with no single benefit in their living life. In fact, the majority of guys sent home earn less than 100K – what cost cutting process is that? At the same time you are hiring guys for 10-12 000 US $.

The hell?

Its unfortunate that you decided to peoples careers at the expense of protecting your perks.

We know the list was skewed to those who don’t lick their bosses’ asses. The CEO and his team have created a culture of boot lickers. Its for that reason that we see guys write mail congratulating themselves on what they have done, the same work they were paid to do. Guys getting certificates & mentions in staff meetings for doing their work. Don’t all other staff do the same? We have never come across a CEO who CANT, CAN NEVER, HAS NEVER, WONT make decisions on just about everything. The guy is just afraid of thinking. Which CEO operates like this? Its better to make a wrong decision than to make none at all.

4 employees wanted to be included in this process as voluntary retirees. How come they haven’t been given any feedback as yet? Await more resignations anyway.

The Talent development pillar. We wonder what that means. Giving guys certificates from a downtown shop. Period. We have the same, same staff being recognized every staff meeting, sorry, parade. Why give technical HoDs shopping vouchers while its their duty to keep their networks up all through? Isn’t that what they are paid for. Some don’t even share them with their juniors. Their juniors battle it out with all weather elements at night, on top of masts, in manholes etc then his senior goes to shop for hoofers, while him he can’t even afford a carpet. Shame!!

Its annoying that the same management singing this funeral song of cost cutting are not exercising the same. They have decided to cut cost from bottom up while they wallow in extravagant allowances and spending. Its funny that we are trying to cut costs by sending invoices with A5 envelopes, from size A 4. Funny. Funny that sales guys haven’t been their mileage claims for months now, funny that there is no cash allowances for travel yet the same called management get their dollar denominated cash well in advance of their travel.

We seem to cut costs at the lowest staff lever yet the same management gulps salaries, allowances and cash benefits that can only befit a company doing positive revenues. Its is embarrassing to have a company such a KDN to have its electricity switched off by the building management yet the CEO’s home bill surpasses the company’s and is paid on time. Its embarrassing that sales guys have to use their own cash, without refunds to fuel their cars and are expected to bring in sales at whatever cost, YET the same CEO consumes close to 100 K in fuel a month which is paid days upon presentation.

THE CEO and CCO are the biggest beneficiaries of small but colossal refunds every other week some for expenses that are expended not on official matters.  How do you even bring a receipt for a tip that you gave to a waiter. How about dinner with spouse? How is that of benfit to the company? Yes, we know them. Guys should lead from the front as opposed to issuing retrenchment threat everything an issue is raised regarding staff welfare. The so called EXCO is the biggest spender of company resources yet this anthem come from them every so in the fucking monthly staff parade. Not that we need to know their salaries (which we do anyway), but how about we compute how much these guys cost the company every month? What is the cost of employment on each of them?

One thing for sure, this company isn’t making profits in a long, long while. First of all you soiled your name in the market, we have management that doesn’t understand the local dynamics, and we have a spineless CEO who is quick to write motivational email, scroll in the office with his traveling case than offer strategy.

Then there is this Safaricom issues. A bigger case than Solution was. Safaricom is one hard-headed company and they have the muscles and connection in all the right places. KDN will exhaust all its cash in legal battles. Much as they know they are on the wrong, they will get in the fight just to soil KDNs name. Just a like a pig that wouldn’t mind a fight in the mud, their intention isn’t to win but dirtify its opponent further. 1.4 B mtalipa.

Couple of months ago we employed another know it all Indian from an ailing GSM company. It’s only in KDN where they know they can get such salaries and allowances. Is it that we couldn’t promote someone internally for the same position? Now we pay them close to a million yet a commoner cant and wouldn’t get the same. We pay for his fuel, house and other small receipts that the present every week. With just a commoner/local, all would have done is just a salary increase, marginal increase. What so special about them. Just recently we got another ‘consultant’ employed on a permanent basis; the locals are to report to him AGAIN. What sort of edition did your education cover? What does that do to motivation? What don’t you fucking replacing everyone then with foreigner. Wasn’t Ian supposed to be here for just 4 months? Guys come as consultant, shack up at mimosa for 3 months, all expenses paid then they get employed. None of them get a salary of less than a million. Shame on you!

Then there is this stinker of an Indian who couldn’t make it anywhere else apart from India. The guy who believes Africans suffer so much from food security, the same guy who believes we have a lazy a lazy education system (as he said during the staff party), same guy who believes Kenyans are very un-educated. He thinks we exhibit very high levels of poverty… ha! India has the largest concentration of slums anywhere in the world. Extreme levels of poverty are in India. And again,  we are quite certain he must have swam, drunk, bathed and peed in the Ganges river – the worlds filthiest river. What is this he comes to tell us now?

And we always wonder, what value adds has that fucking wanker of a CCO brought since he came in? He hasn’t brought in a single NEW company/client on board. The guy was never able to sell scratch cards at ESSAR. The guy couldn’t even sell FREE offers, imagine giving stuff for free and no one wants them yet now he is supposed to sell bandwidth in STM’s.

All he does in speak to Airtel for more links & only speaks to more of his fellow country-men. We know even board meeting in Airtel are conducted in Hindu. Didn’t we learn from Safaricom?

This is the guy who claims refunds even on tips to waiters. The guy who pays bills on behalf of KDN so that he gains on forex difference, has had 4 drivers in his 1 year at KDN, alternates using his company and personal car so that KDN fuels both, believe he is so much of an intellectual yet he couldn’t sell airtime.

Did we have to pay for his membership at some golf club, over 500K, just to discuss Airtel?

The same guy bad mouths his own CEO in other forums claiming he runs the show at KDN. The same guy bad mouthed Rikus recently about his performance yet he used to beg him for a job after he was fired at Essar. We know our rider used to drop his contract to him. How funny. Mr. CEO, you should know this guy is drilling into your ass slowly. Indian will do anything to get what they want while smiling at you at the same time.

This 5,000 km of fiber is as good as the soil covering it. It will waste away as more corporate churn to other providers. Mr. Craig, you better ask for the churn list and see the hemorrhage for yourself. Task this scumbag called CCO. We can send it to you just in case he edits it.

Enter Prasad. Three-foot nothing in height but believes he has a brain the same height. He also handpicked guys to sack (call it retrenchment) because they don’t tow his line. We know guys whom lick his smelly ass. These 2 ex-essar guys have been pushing certain companies to be suppliers in KDN, some companies that don’t even physical offices, no bank accounts, have the Indian connection which is very, very unethical. Is that what good corporate governance is? They have barely done 1 year in here but guess what; everyone knows KDN is a cash cow. We are aware that there is passive racism in the company perpetrated by the same management. These coolies from India keep pushing their own for all contracts that they can. Even the same spineless CEO has shamelessly trying to sneak in some cronies for work at this company. Shame.

It’s a pity because these guys know they are not here in the long run, they get all their expenses paid mop up their cash and send it back to their homes. The commoners are left in their country.

Just the other day we lost a colleague, the ‘small’ servants that work behind the scenes. The CEO didn’t even know he exists. He was just responding to email because of the sheer condolences that came in by email. Its also a pity that there was no representative from the same management at the burial, management that offer crocodile tears in such cases. Transport to the funeral was extremely poorly organized by HR – a whole bus taking just 2 guys and the rest preferring to fuel their cars and finding their way.

Gross mis-performance. The worst was yet to come when guys complained about that then she went ahead to ban communication on the ‘staff’ mailing queue. Is that what a ‘leading technology firm’ should be doing in this era, gagging staff from speaking out against issues? Is communication just one way, from CEO or HR to the commoners only? Epic fail. Fucking failure of the management.
We have not touched on Roger here, seeming aloof but in a good way.

He is a CAPEX item by himself but the guy works. He doesn’t involve himself with petty issues. He drives in & out having done his stuff and doesn’t seem to rattle the beehive. We are aware that Ian is the guy who proposed the names of the guys who left.
At the end of the day, we shall remain here as all these guys cart away to the airport.

Hail the long dead Altech South African data Networks.

Lastly, someone please tell that Statham guy from ASG that it doesn’t augur nor end well when you sleep with your juniors, pay for their rent, dine and bring on the receipts for refund. Its awfully embarrassing too.

WOW!! What do you guys think? Leave comments below.

Written by Robert

Respected Kenyan blogger, tech evangelist, and social justice activist. Robert is known for his hard-hitting articles and opinions disseminated through his Twitter handle @RobertAlai or Facebook page (

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