Kenya has a panic problem, and social media plays a big role in spreading it.
In the recent past, we have seen a run on Chase Bank that ended up placing it in receivership. The same was also attempted on Family Bank but it somehow survived.
Basically, rumours of an impending collapse are started by shady characters on social media, and because bad news can travel halfway around the world before the truth has put on its shoes, everyone and their mother are knocking down doors demanding their money back.
It is worse for banks because not a single one can survive when every customer demands their money. But it is also destructive for other businesses.
Over the weekend, the same characters who have been on the forefront of driving banks into receivership came up with the rumour that Nakumatt was planning to shut down 8 stores. Among them were: TRM, Garden City, Lavington, Westlands* , Embakasi and Kitisuru.
Knowing very well that Nakumatt is experiencing serious issues, it was very easy to believe this rumour.
The giant retailer reportedly has cash flow problems that have seen it unable to pay most of its suppliers. The result has been empty shelves in most of its branches in and out of Kenya.
A letter between the supermarket management and Trade PS, seen by the Business Daily, revealed that Nakumatt would welcome a government bailout. However, that is unlikely to happen according to the PS.
It is unclear whether the supermarket has reached that point of closing more branches or even declaring bankruptcy. But at the moment, they are holding on.
This is the statement they put out to rubbish the rumours.