The Managing Director of Times Group took to Facebook to defend his company’s decision to retrench nearly 70 employees saying that during “the past five years since 2010, Times Group has recorded the best financial returns for shareholders and this sound financial performance was the basis for major investments in TV and radio broadcasting”
Times Group publishes three titles Daily Times, Sunday Times, Malawi News and also owns Times TV, radio and Times Courier. But In the past five years, the company shut down unprofitable enterprises such as the scandalous tabloid The Weekend Times, Business Times and Lifestyle magazine.
While Chikadya also boasted in the same Facebook post that nobody had lost their job since 2010, it is a matter of public record that the company retrenched in 2011 and 2013 which saw the likes of senior journalists as Dan Nyirenda, Rex Chikoko, Felix Mponda, Otuli Munlo, Jack Mcbrams, Wezi Nkhoma-Somba and many others lose jobs.
Chikadya used Facebook to defend himself, after posts had suggested that the Times Group retrenches staff “almost annually” since he took over in 2004.
“I have read all comments posted and I feel obliged to respond to some comments posted here”, Chikadya said.
“Times Group previously trading as Blantyre Printing and Publishing Company should have closed down in 2004 as there was nobody to inject new capital into the business when it’s capital base was reduced a bankruptcy Company! I took the challenge to turn it round and with the support of the Team I led that time we are proud that without any new equity capital injection except for bank loans we saved the legacy of this media house. There were sacrifices and retrenchments were indeed effected three times! As strategy to ring fence the future sustainability of the Company, new loans were secured to invest in both radio and television in keeping with the new world order business trends!
“It does not require any technical knowledge to appreciate the print media, newspapers in particular are facing diminishing returns due to the change of technology that has given readers new avenues of gathering information. I told myself and my staff that I will try to protect the new jobs we have created arising from the new investment of radio and TV! What I did not know is that Malawi economy will continue to use an expired software and hardware infrastructure for managing the macroeconomic environment! I have seen new advertisers of radio and TV reducing their advertising spend by almost 50% during the past two years! Survival any media house depends on advertising revenue! I have no intention of justifying this sad development but suffice to mention that there nobody who can offer his or her services without financial compensation!
“You have my assurance that I will post names of those who will be re-engaged in the near future should someone charged with the national responsibility of re-engineering the Malawi economy exercise their authority to reduce the cost doing business and offer predictable exchange rate regime”
Chikadya has been roundly condemned by media players, his former workers and others for willy-nilly retrenching staff over the years.
Dan Phiri, who was retrenched in 2013 reacted with: “Chiwanda chama retrenchments. You need a very strong prophet like TB Joshua to exorcise it. Otherwise chiwanda chimenechi tidakali nacho ndithu. Alleluia!”
Stella Hara, who was retrenched in 2012 exclaimed: “Lord give us wisdom”
Penny Paliani, who was retrenched in 2005 said: “Koma afiti amenewa. And soon trust me they will employ new people before even the economy improves I tell u!
Two of Chikadya’s former employees, however, defended him.
Former Daily Times editor Vyn Phiri wrote: “ Thanks for the explanation, Sir. I believe some light has been shed. I have always had confidence in you and your business acumen ever since you assumed the reins of power at the Times in 2004. I am sorry some people had to be laid off on the way to your Canaan. For those retrenched, there is life after the Times. However, I trust you will re-engage only those that add value to your teams, and without mincing words, please, hire the competent selfless calibre like “that one and that one” who work toward the Times goal of making profit from executing the dictates of democracy. You know the chaff from wheat. You have been in this trade long enough now. Carry on steering clear of gossipers feed. Cursorily, rest assured some of us will re-join you because we have confidence in your work ethic and philosophy. Viva Times Group”
Another who defended Chikadya was former Times Group editor Idriss Ali Nassah who said: “The openness with which BNL has approached this difficult matter this time around is quite refreshing. It takes away from the uncertainty and misinformation of the rumor-mill, which thrives in the absence of such forthright information. I must commend bwana Leonnard Chikadya and his team for this move. It gives the “why” this action is being taken, the “how” it will be done and is upbeat that once the economy takes a turn for the better, those affected this time around have an opportunity to be re-engaged. I only pray that the upturn in the economy is sooner rather than later. Malawi needs a robust, enthused and functioning Times Media Group”
Nassah then added:” The only positive of this rather sad situation is, as I hear, that Brian Ligomeka has fallen. Don’t know what took management this long but that one is good riddance and well done to Times!”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :