By ABDULHAKIM SHERMAN
Kenya’s pioneer evening newspaper XNews has stopped publishing resulting in the lay-off more than 50 employees.
Affected employees said XNews, the free evening newspaper published by Xtra Publishing ceased publishing in August last year after facing cash flow problems.
“We had gone for more than 13 months without salaries before we were told by management that our services are longer required,” one of the employees said.
The employees said they are owed millions of shillings in unpaid salaries and other dues.
However, when contacted Xtra Publishing CEO Peter Marshall, denied that the publication had stopped publishing.
“We are publishing on a weekly basis and I think you have been given the wrong information,” Mr Marshall said over the phone.
However, vendors in the streets of Nairobi said they had not seen XNews newspaper since July last year.
“We used to get that newspaper every week day around 5pm, but we have not seen it since July last year,” one vendor near Teleposta said.
However, the affected employees who are mainly journalists and sales executives, insisted that they had worked tirelessly to keep the publication on the streets before the newspapers operations were halted.
The company’s financial troubles are said to have been as a result of delayed payments for government advertising and a general drop in advertising revenues from other organisations.
The employees said the company started experiencing financial problems they received occasional handouts of less than Sh 10,000 to cater for their pressing needs.
The employees said the management had been making false promises to pay them before they were told their services were no longer needed.
The company is said to owe millions of shillings in rent arrears and printing costs with the Star newspapers.