In the last couple of days, Radio Africa Group’s Homeboyz Radio has been on the spot following insensitive remarks made by its presenters touching on gender-based violence.
Social media users have been up in arms demanding accountability from the presenters (Shaffie Weru, DJ Joe Mfalme and Neville Musya) regarding the distasteful remarks made against Eunice Wangari.
Although certain steps have been taken to remedy the issue such as the trio’s dismissal, there is still a long way to go in ensuring safe working spaces.
Details reaching Kahawa Tungu reveal that the rot in Radio Africa goes deep into the management, the incident with the presenters was just the tip of the iceberg.
This writer understands that Terry Wanjiru Muikamba, a former presenter at Classic FM has taken legal action against Radio Africa Group for unfair dismissal among other grievances.
The case dates back to 2019 where the claimant, Muikamba was diagnosed with Graves’ Disease, an immune system disorder that results in the overproduction of thyroid hormones which affects the body system.
Upon the diagnosis, Muikamba needed urgent medical care hence her seeking immediate medical leave to attend to her condition.
However, Muikamba claims that the senior officials in the Media Group were unsympathetic to her condition and treated her in an inhumane way.
“The respondent was informed of the claimant’s medical condition and granted her the necessary leave of absence to attend to her medical condition. However, it soon became apparent that the Respondent’s senior officials were not sympathetic to the claimant’s condition by acting inhumane and in an insensitive manner whilst she was admitted at the hospital…” the court documents read in part.
Muikamba accuses Radio Africa’s Director of Programs, Pete Sinclair of looking for her replacement while she was still on sick leave with the Head of Human Resource management Jane Ngode more concerned about when she would resume work rather than her well being.
Muikamba further states that while in hospital, the bills overwhelmed her since her employer’s insurance cover could not cater for everything. She had to top up Sh10,000 daily for the days she was at the hospital, a move that took a toll on her financially.
She thus reached out to Radio Africa Group CEO, Patrick Quarco for assistance and she was given Sh50,000 which aided in the same.
Upon resuming work, Muikamba claims the harassment became worse as she was being blamed for every wrongdoing at the station. For instance, she cites that Sinclair often made derogatory remarks about her while talking ill about her to other colleagues.
“He would on numerous occasions refer to the claimant in a derogatory manner and refer to her as a sickling and follow it up with a fucking useless,” the documents say.
Muikamba’s efforts to seek refuge at the HR were also futile as her claims were dismissed leading to mental anguish that forced her to resign.
Apparently, there have been numerous complaints about Pete Sinclair by other presenters with no action taken against him.
For instance, the documents detail the incident of Lynda Nyangweso who was also subjected to a similar situation for being pregnant and taking maternity leave.
Pete reportedly threatened to fire Lynda should she get pregnant again. Pete is said to have denied a member of staff paternity leave telling him to “wear a condom next time.”
Muikamba wants Radio Africa to declare that she was wrongfully dismissed from work and is seeking damages for wrongful termination equivalent to 12 months’ pay. She is also seeking damages for infringement of her rights as protected under article 35 of the constitution and wants to be issued with a certificate of service.
“Aggravated and General damages for infringement of the claimant’s rights, 1-year salary for the remainder of her contract period from November 30, 2020, to November 30, 2021, amounting to Sh2,160,000.”
In 2018, Radio Africa was on the spot for having hired aged Pete Sinclair as the controller of Programs taking home close to Sh1 million monthly.
Various complaints were lodged with questions lingering on how the senior employees were taking home hefty monthly payments while there were other employees working extra and only earning Sh40,000 monthly. The complaints however fell on deaf ears as nothing was done.
On Sunday, Homeboyz Radio fired the morning drive show hosts following public outcry over gender insensitive remarks made on Wednesday.
“Homeboyz Radio and its parent company, Radio Africa has terminated the services of Shaffie Weru, Joseph Munoru and Neville Muasya” a statement from the radio station read in part.
“We have determined that their conduct constitutes gross misconduct and an egregious breach of the company’s editorial policies. The company and its subsidiaries do not condone gender-based violence or any form of physical, verbal and emotional abuse nor does it subscribe to the view shared by the three employees,” the statement further reads.
This was not however the first time as the station is monotonous for suppressing women and sidelining issues to do with women and gender.
In 2019, the station purported to suspend Presenter Didge of the then-popular evening show “Mtaani” for mocking university student Ivy Wangechi who was hacked to death by her boyfriend.
During the show, Didge said, “She died because she wasn’t loyal. That is the honest truth, right? Yeah, alidead juu hakuwa loyal, sindio?”
He went on to warn ladies to be careful about whom they date warning they are wont to be killed in similar circumstances.
The sentiments caused an uproar on social media and although he was suspended, further steps were not taken to ensure the same would not be repeated.
These issues, coupled with the poor work culture at Radio Africa and lack of seriousness by top-level management in addressing complaints by women make it unfavorable for women to work and compete favorably in the corporate world.
Here are more documents regarding the legal suit: