Nothing makes Kenyans come together in unity and strength more than disasters. The Westgate Mall Attack has at least revealed that much to us. The hashtag #WeAreOne trended for most of the hours that the siege by Somalia’s Al Shabaab Mujahideen lasted. Kenyans queued for hours waiting to donate blood for the Westgate Mall Attack victims. And when Safaricom opened a fundraising campaign for the victims, we all saw what happened. The figures contributed via Safaricom’s Mpesa paybill number 848484 were just mind boggling. Messages of condolence and goodwill
flooded both the social media and the main stream media. The Kenya Defence Forces fought nail and tooth, risked their lives and finally brought the terrorists down. That’s Kenya for you. The land of peace, love and harmony.
But there is another part of Kenya that you should be terrified of. It is the part that spews corrosive venom on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. It is the part that drives hatred and brings respected people down. Just ask those Tujuane chics who pretend to take to their high horses the moment they realize paparazzi cameras are rolling. Kenyans expose them naked. They leave no stone unturned in their quest for blood and humiliation. You do not want to cross their path the wrong way, but several people did during and after the Westgate Mall Attack.
Events From The Westgate Mall Attack That Raise Questions About Our Oneness
The Sunday Nation was probably the first indirect victim of the Westgate Mall Attack.
Kenyans called the Sunday Nation for publishing this image of a woman screaming in pain during the Westgate Mall terror attack.
The editors in what is one of the Kenya’s leading newspapers committed the silly mistake of publishing a graphic image of a wounded woman writhing and screaming in pain with blood splashed all over her face. That is all the incentives that Kenyans on Twitter needed to start baying for someone’s else blood. They wanted someone to pay for the blunder. And someone did pay. Two senior editors apparently lost their jobs. I pity their children, their families who in all probabilities have lost their only source of income. Was such a drastic measure necessary? Did we have to add more casualties to the Westgate terror attack victim’s list?
A tweet that from K24 that mentions Lenku
Then there was Ole Lenku, the Kenyan Cabinet Secretary in charge of internal security and Coordination of National Government. After several hurried press conferences and updates on the progress on the Westgate Mall Attack, Kenyans deemed that his reasoning did not have much difference with #EngKamauLogic. They were particularly not impressed when Ole Lenku, who was a former Hotel Manager at the Utalii Hotel, claimed that smoke seen rising out of the ill-fated Westgate Mall was as a result of the terrorists burning mattresses to distract the rescue missions.
Did NIS sleep on the job?
The National Intelligence Service was not left behind, especially after it emerged that various sources including Israel’s Mosad and the American Central Intelligence Agency had warned of an imminent terrorist attack on the Kenyan soil. Nairobi County Senator, Mike Sonko, also reported to have warned the NIS of a possible terror attack on Kenya, allegations that the government has failed to respond to. A tweet by one of the infamous HSM Press Office Twitter handles, which has seen then been banned, made things worse for our intelligence boys. The tweet allegedly sent on 19th July warned that the Al Shabaab was planning a major terrorist attack on Kenyan soil. Kenyans rightfully demanded for answers. Did the NIS have this information? Did they sleep on the job? They however wanted more than answers. They wanted the NIS disbanded with immediate effect!
Are We Really One?
The reaction of Kenyans to these few incidences speak volumes of who we really are. We have become like the football players who recall how the goalkeeper missed to save a shot that resulted in a lose but hardly remembers how many times the goalkeeper beat himself to save other possible calamitous shots. We dwell on the little and ignore the very important. We want to scratch only the surface and get short term solutions to very complicated problems.
We have to question ourselves about when is it that we really speak with one voice and act in one accord. Is it only when the international media has its attention on us? Why do we still have families living in tents after the 2007/08 post election violence? The question is up to you. Are we really one? Leave your comments below.