Reasons Why Barorot Resigned From Airtel, Call Centre Staff are on Strike

Ok!! John Barorot was sacked from Safaricom in March though the official word was that he was one of the key managers who chose not to re-apply for their positions during the company’s realignment. Two months later, May 2011, he joined Airtel as the Network Director replacing Alec Mulonga from Zambia who was to handover by end of August. It seems like Alec might not be going anywhere or it is just a tricky affair. John Barorot’s resignation is expected to be complete within the next three months.

Key sources have given different reasons why Mr Barorot resigned. First there are those who believe that Mr Barorot might have had high hopes to think that there are any big enough projects worth his experience at Airtel. At Safaricom, Mr Barorot used to handle projects in billions of shillings and since Airtel has been outsourcing key services and projects which falls directly under the docket of Mr Barorot. This has left him just to be an overseer and not really an implementer of projects. Most of the call centre services at Bharti Airtel has been outsourced to Indian BPO company Spanco while IBM is handling most of the IT works in the continent. This leaves the position of the company’s Network Director more of an overseer with not much of decisions being made by key managers sitting somewhere in India.

The projects at Airtel are not big enough in funding to entice an Engineer of Barorot’s caliber. Others argue that the manegement style of the Indians behind Bharti Airtel differs very much with the Europeans whom Barorot used to run projects under at Safaricom.

A credible source has intimated to me that the Indians are at times not professional in their management and this is frustrating to the professionals who have worked elsewhere under different managers. The source talked of frustrations in making decision where when you follow a certain process, you might get a call from a key shareholder to stop working in a certain way.

The Bharti Airtel team is also said to have tried to use Barorot to kill the competiting spirit of the team at Safaricom without much success. Barorot is said to be one principled mens who won’t reveal any business secrets or indulge in such actions for money

Barorot is also said to have initiated and influenced various CSR projects by Safaricom in his home county. His move to resign is also linked to high political ambitions he has in Iten county’s governorship. Barorot is said to be very close to powerful Kalenjin politicians and media owners some of whom are behind the 3,100 acre Sergiot Golf and Wildlife Resort housing project in Eldoret. His influence in the Kalenjin politics are also growing with some analysts pointing that it was Barorot who was the key man in making sure that Mobitelea shareholders stayed a secret. His management of the Mobitelea affair earned him a cool sum even raising his financial profile with his wealth now being admired by even the most influential businessmen in the country.

John is one of the key personnel from Telkom Kenya who joined Safaricom during its inception in the late 90s and when thee Vodafone group came on board in May 2000, Barorot was retained both as a key Kenyan contact but also was used by the then ruling regime to acquire a stake in the new telecoms business under the nondescript Mobitelea umbrella.

UPDATE: Sources at Airtel intimate that most of the call centre staff under the Spanco group at Airtel are on a go-slow after they went on strike yesterday and tthe management just had to assure them of their position before they agreed to resume their duties although not fully. Key demand by the CC staff were that the Indian managers at Spanco should stop interfering in the daily duties of the local workers. The local workers think that they are being micromanaged and bullied by the Indian managers who doesn’t have the right experience for the market.

The Indian managers are said to be so overreaching that they sometimes hire fellow country men to come and do basic filing work at Airtel Kenya Call Centre. This has not gone down well with the Kenyans some whom have worked with the company since the Kencell days. Even key managers with how theey are being micro-managed

Barorot might have resigned from Bharti Airtel but this might not be the last time the public get to hear of himself. Why do you think John Barorot resigned? Give us your reasons by commenting 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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