By Max Patrick Ocaido
The serenity at Kampala Serena Hotel is diminishing as the 5 star facility slips into a managerial crisis with staff declaring a sit down strike on Saturday.
The luxurious and magnificent Serena Hotel is part of the Agha Khan empire with its headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. Since last week, staff at Serena held its management at ransom to fire the hotel’s General Manager Anthony Chege whom they accuse of abuse of office, poor management and mistreatment of employees. Chege has been the General Manager at the Kampala Serena Hotel since 2011. Staff had declared a one week long strike starting on Saturday.
This crisis prompted Managing Director of Serena Hotels Group Mahmoud Jan Mohamed to fly into Uganda from Nairobi to address the staff grievances in a crisis meeting that was held on Saturday. Jan Mohamed expressed dissatisfaction with the way the staff expressed their grievances before hundreds of guests who were at the flashy hotel. Jan vowed to close down the hotel for 2 weeks if staff continue to hold him at the “barrel of a gun” rather than relaying their problems in a more civilized and professional manner without alarming their guests.
“You (staff) think you can put a gun on my neck and say do this and I will do it? As a family we have to sit down and resolve issues. And if this is how you behave then I will close down this hotel for 2 weeks and start again. There are guests there and this is embarrassing, problems have to be resolved like mature people,” Jan blasted the staff in a crisis meeting outside the hotel.
Jan expressed fear that the whacky attitude of the staff could make them take over the hotel. “It means even tomorrow you may say you don’t need me as your Managing Director and possibly even take over the hotel and run it. I am here to listen and deal with your grievances,” he added.
Apparently, a source has intimated that the looming staff strike has been called off and business as resumed normally.
Before rising to the position of General Manager, Chege was the deputy GM at Kampala Serena Hotel and also worked as Lodge Manager at Serena Mountain Lodge and Kilaguni Serena Safari Camp in Kenya, Camp Manager at Kirawira Luxury Tented Camp in Tanzania, General Manager at the Zanzibar Serena Hotel. He has since then become very unpopular among the staff and there is a possibility that he could be transferred soon or later.