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Safaricom CEO takes stock of the firm's year in first video message since going on medical leave

He expressed optimism about returning to the firm's helm as soon as possible

This is according to the company's CEO Bob Collymore who spoke for the first time since going on medical leave to receive specialised treatment.

In a five-minute video message, Mr Collymore moved to quell fears about his health adding that he looks forward to returning to the helm of the telecommunication firm.

"As you can see I have put a little weight on; ten kilogrammes to be precise. My wife’s cooking is clearly doing fantastic work with that,” he quipped.

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The Safaricom boss added that he would be allowed to fly back to Nairobi once he's done with his last procedure.

Prolonged elections

Mr Collymore said that last year's political headwinds affected the firm last year including the protracted elections and NASA's boycott on Safaricom products.

“Last year was a very challenging year for Safaricom. We had the prolonged electioneering period which dampened economic activity. We had the resist movement which didn’t help and presented a lot of challenges for our colleagues in the regional sales operations,” he said.

He welcomed a reported planned merger of rivals Telkom Kenya and Airtel Kenya as they seek to take on the company's position as a market leader.

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On the other hand, mr Collymore remained bullish about the operator's prospects despite possible headwinds arising from subdued private sector growth and launch of new mobile payment products amid a proposed regulation of consumer prices in the telecoms sector.

Company chairman Nicholas Ng’ang’a in October last year announced My Collymore's medical leave of absence “for a few months”, but did not disclose the nature of his illness.

Safaricom chief financial officer Sateesh Kamath has taken on a primary role to fill the void while supported by Joseph Ogutu – the company’s director of Strategy and Innovation.

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