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Uber seeks to hire Nairobi managers amid opposition

US online taxi firm Uber is seeking managers to handle its Kenyan and East African operations, indicating the company’s resolve to stay put amid stiff opposition from Nairobi’s regular cab operators.

The company has advertised four senior positions for which recruitment is ongoing.

The firm, which has recorded rapid expansion globally, has advertised for a general manager for East Africa, an operations and logistics manager, a communications senior associate and a public policy senior associate.

METERED PRICING

Uber entered the Kenyan market early last year, bringing its global metered pricing to Nairobi.

Customers are charged for every kilometre covered — unlike the regular Nairobi cabs whose pricing is based on arbitrary negotiations with drivers.

Every Uber trip is automatically and openly priced, helping users to budget for their travel expenses.

Kenyan taxi operators have strongly opposed Uber’s pricing model, which in some cases cuts by more than half the prices they have been charging commuters especially on short trips.

The taxi hailing app first advertised for the position of a country general manager seven months ago.

“I can confirm that we are still recruiting for the best candidate to fill this position of general manager for Kenya,” said the Uber Africa spokesperson Samantha Allenberg.

GROW THE BUSINESS

The American company is looking for someone with over seven years’ experience in either consulting, or investment banking to develop and grow the business “while maintaining their global quality throughout the rider’s experience.”

The managers will also be expected to sign deals for partner rewards such as fuel and airtime discounts for Uber drivers and manage local regulatory concerns.

The operations manager will be responsible for expansion planning and recruiting of drivers as well as evaluating the economic benefits of partner incentive programs.

The Policy Associate will be responsible for liaising with policy makers to ensure that the regulatory framework in each East African country supports the tech firm’s business, while the Communication Associate will be responsible for growing the company’s profile as it looks to expand to other countries in the region.

Regular taxi drivers have claimed that Uber is taking away their business.

VIOLENT ATTACKS

Incidences of violent attacks and damage of Uber cabs, in a bid to drive them out of business, have been reported.

Karanja Kibicho, the Principal Secretary for Interior Security and Government Coordination on Monday last week held a meeting in an attempt to resolve the brewing conflict.

He formed a stakeholders’ committee headed by the director general of the Competition Authority of Kenya Wang’ombe Kariuki to look into the regular cabs’ grievances.

The committee will compile a report on matters raised in two weeks, which will be used to draft regulations governing online taxi operations in Kenya.

A planned demonstration by United Kenya Taxi Association failed to take place on Thursday, as members of the lobby group said they would instead seek audience with the Transport Secretary James Macharia.

The would-be protesters only held a meeting along Ngong Road after the Interior and Government Coordination Ministry issued a stern warning against the planned street demonstration.

The cab operators had given a seven-day ultimatum for the government to end the standoff between its members and Uber drivers, vowing to paralyse operations in city streets if their demands were not met.