I’m straight out of listening to an audio clip of two Twitter bigwigs trying to extort some hard cash from Bidco. If you’re new to the Bidco saga, walk with me.
A synopsis of what’s been happening.
Cyprian Nyakundi, (if you’re not on Twitter you may remember him as the guy who was expelled by Meru University), has been writing a series of ‘investigative’ stories on his blog. He has been claiming that Bidco has been grabbing land in Uganda from helpless farmers, in order to plant oil palm. He published lots of victim statements, but never Bidco’s side of the story.
It is good to note there were some media reports last week that the Ugandan government had cleared Bidco of any wrong doing.
For several days, Bidco was trending on Twitter, helped mostly by Nyakundi and friends’ followers.
Behind the scenes, Bidco’s PR team was working to save the situation. They reached out to another Twitter bigwig and radio presenter @xtiandela. Reportedly, Dela and Nyakundi have in recent weeks become good friends, and regularly work together to make hashtags trend.
With Dela the appointed middleman, he suggested that Bidco should pay Nyakundi so the matter can slide, Ghafla reports.
@XtianDela swang into action and consulted Nyakundi, then held a meeting with a representative from Bidco. It is in this meeting where the entire conversation was recorded in amazingly crisp quality, seemingly by the Bidco guy.
The meeting starts well with small chit chat, and then Dela drops the bombshell; Nyakundi wants Sh40 million to delete the stories, the tweets and to swear never to publish anything against Bidco.
After a brief moment to pinch himself and bring himself to terms with what had just happened, Bidco’s guy broke into a very genuine laughter…. and so did I.
Xtian Dela then says that after much persuasion, he brought him down to Sh20 million.
… and this now take me to the rare breed of idiot I was talking about.
Listening to the clip, a 2 year old will tell you that Xtian Dela and Nyakundi were working together. It therefore baffles me how someone in their sane state of mind would think a company can just write them a Sh20 million cheque, leave alone 40.
In my simple mind, this is what I think happened. The two guys remember that Forbes list where Bidco CEO Vimal Shah was listed as the richest Kenyan with tens of billions, then decide that Sh20 million is pocket change for him and he would close the deal fast to make things disappear. I would think they tossed a few figures around, before settling on something like Sh5m. But since this is a negotiation, you have to start at a really big figure hoping that Bidco would play ball and start bringing it down. The plan was for Xtian Dela to read the mood then determine the appropriate figure. When the Bidco guy broke into laughter at the Sh40 million figure (I’d have loved to see the faces), he brought the figure down to 20 and almost immediately, 15-20.
Perhaps if the discussion went on, that would have continued coming down.
Come on, Nyakundi is a 20 something college drop-out who can barely construct spoken English sentences, while Xtian Dela is a social media clown with a suspicious amount of followers.
Trust me, if Vimal is cutting anyone an 8-figure cheque, it has to be someone in a suit with better reputation or at least a more convincing story.
And in such cases, a little intelligence should apply. Bidco came into the meeting probably ready to pay you off. Why would you then spoil the party with insane demands.
You are not as important as you think. Start your discussion at a reasonable 1 or 2 million. If Bidco brings it down to a few hundreds of thousands, take it, run and praise God you have a little more money than you had before. Don’t be greedy.
As for Bidco, I’m not sure if the intention was to pay off or record conversation and leak to Ghafla, but I know you just saved yourself from footing Nyakundi’s legal bill in his case with Safaricom.
Listen to the audio below.