Keroche denies political partisanship as sales decline

Keroche Breweries chief executive, Ms Tabitha Karanja on Sunday called on the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) to investigate and widen monitoring of hate speech to the business community.

Ms Karanja said a competitor had linked her company to a political party hence causing a slump of 30 per cent in sales.

“In the last two months, our field officers have notice a dangerous style of marketing – false and misleading advertising which projects Keroche Breweries as leaning towards Cord in Jubilee dominated areas and Jubilee in areas where Cord is popular,” she said.

During a press briefing in Nairobi, Ms Karanja said her business had suffered propaganda during election period for the past 16 years.

“This strategy is both dangerous and counterproductive in the short and long-term. The danger is that it pushes Kenyans towards extremism when we are all trying to remind Kenyans that our country exists even when the elections will be concluded,” she said.

Further, she accused her competitors, whom she referred to as “international multinationals” of taking advantage of the political divide created during elections period.

She said when customers are asked to boycott certain company product, then NCIC should perceive it as an attempt to develop ethnic divisions, which she termed as “laced with ethnic propaganda and hate speech”.

“It also introduces a wrong perception that our economy should be segmented into tribes and communities. Products are not manufactured for communities or regions. The only qualification any product should have is quality,” Ms Karanja said adding that last Thursday Keroche wrote a letter to NCIC asking them to investigate the case.

She was quick to add that she does not hold politicians liable for the propaganda and revealed that she has talked to both Cord and Jubilee campaign teams regarding the issue.

“Even they are surprised and shocked that this thing is happening,” Ms Karanja said.

However, she did not reveal to the press how her competitor has been deploying the smear campaign but said it was being channelled through bar staff.

“What at first appeared to be attempts by misled and overzealous salesmen have now been confirmed as approved corporate strategy targeting Keroche Breweries’ Summit Lager drinks by the competitors” she said.

According to Ms Karanja, mechanisms – such as regulations to nip such business malpractices in the bud have failed.

“There is need to have a regulator to check misleading information in the sales strategies by some of our competitors that are causing serious damage, both financial and physical to the consumers,” she said.

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