BAKE clarification in light of recent events

BAKE logo

The Bloggers Association of Kenya (BAKE) is a community organization of bloggers that promotes online content creation and free expression in Kenya. In doing so, it seeks to empower online content creation and improve the quality of content created on the web in Kenya. This has been our core mandate since the formation of BAKE in 2011 and we have worked tirelessly towards this through various partnerships and projects such as: Digital training for bloggers, schools and corporates, setting up BAKE county chapters, BAKE Kenyan Blog Awards, Kenya Monitor and Digital Camp. We are proud of what we have been able to achieve in the last 5 years and are looking forward to growing the organization and the opportunities available for Kenyan bloggers even further.

It has come to our attention that there is some misinformation about the organization and particularly its Directors, Kennedy Kachwanya and James Wamathai, making the rounds on Social Media. We are committed to the welfare of our members and the integrity of this organization and as such are more than happy to present the facts.

In early 2011, BAKE was founded but unfortunately, due to government reluctance towards the idea of a bloggers association, could not be registered. The original members at the time were 41, and they opted to register a limited company, Bloggers Media Limited (BML) as a vehicle to drive the idea forward until they were able to register as an association. In September 2013, BAKE was duly registered and operations were henceforth done through the organization.

BAKE is registered as a non-profit society organization whose mandate is as stated above with its activities falling under training, aggregation of content and organizing the BAKE Kenyan Blog Awards. BAKE however, requires funds to pay its staff as well as to cater for other administration costs. Yes, BAKE has received funding in the past but it has been to cater for specific projects like Kenya Monitor and Digital training. With that in mind, BML was used as the commercial arm of BAKE – partnering with corporate clients through digital campaigns and creating sources of income for a number of bloggers and influencers. It is important to note that legally, BML and BAKE are separate entities. All this has been previously shared with BAKE members including in an email sent on March 2nd 2016.

BML held a shareholders meeting (AGM) on February 27th 2016 and BAKE presented the idea of legally connecting the two entities, BAKE and BML, by having BAKE own majority shareholding in BML. This was in line with the wishes of BAKE members who had expressed on an online forum that they wanted the two entities merged. The proposal was rejected by the BML shareholders who opted that BAKE and BML should remain separate entities. BML shareholders also opted to elect new office holders and Kennedy Kachwanya and James Wamathai resigned as BML Directors. It is important to note here that as BAKE and BML were operating in a symbiotic manner, the Directors of BAKE were also the Directors of BML.

Following the BML shareholders decision at AGM, we had to move forward with operations and that included registering a new commercial arm of BAKE, BAKE Kenya Limited, that is 100% owned by BAKE. This is within the legal capacity of the BAKE Directors.

All who have taken the time to reach out to us on this matter have realised we have nothing to hide. We simply wished to handle this matter internally but have had to make a public statement after attempts to do so have hit a wall. BAKE prides itself in having an open door policy and in being as transparent as possible. We are happy to share our financial statements with our members and partners and answer any questions that anyone has on this issue as well as how BAKE as an organisation is run.

We are in the process of planning an AGM for our more than 700 members and will communicate the details as soon as we can. We are also working towards creating more efficient structures that will make communication easier and hence the organisation more transparent. We thank our members and partners for their unwavering support and hope this can be swiftly resolved so we can remain focused on our core mandate – representing and empowering Kenyan online content creators. We also unreservedly apologize for not informing you on time about the new developments.