Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta suspends his social media accounts

Friday March 22 2019

 

By HARRY MISIKO

You will not be able to follow, like or comment on President Kenyatta's social media accounts, at least for now.

This is after the head of state suspended all his social media handles on Friday morning over hacking by some staff in his office.

The first to go was his Twitter account, @UKenyatta, with its 3.62 million followers and 12,300 tweets.

Moments later, his verified Facebook account, #Uhuru Kenyatta, was blacked out.

This sparked off speculation that one of Africa's Twitter presidents had been suspended by the microblog.

But Mr Kenyatta had not violated any of the rules and Twitter was not giving that explanation for the missing account.

SUSPENSION

"Sorry, that page doesn’t exist!" that is the response Twitter was giving.

The rumours of Twitter taking action against the president were fanned by the fact that hours before the suspension, he had tweeted a stern warning on corruption.

"If you are corrupt we will fight you. You can be my brother or my sister or my closest political ally, but if you are corrupt we will fight you,” Mr Kenyatta tweeted from Windhoek, the Namibian capital, where he is on a state visit.

Analysis of comments by Kenyans on Twitter (KOT) shows that many believed an administrator with ill intentions had fired the tweet to put Mr Kenyatta at loggerheads with his deputy William Ruto.

Mr Ruto, Mr Kenyatta's close ally and marriage partner in the ruling Jubilee Party, has made it clear that the ongoing war on grand corruption and brazen theft of public resources is targeting him and his 2022 presidential ambitions.

But after hours of speculation, his Chief Of Staff Nzioka Waita tweeted that the accounts had been deactivated.

"On account of unauthorised access to the official social media handles of H.E the President of the Republic of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta .All official social media handles for the President have been temporarily suspended to allow for the necessary remedial measures to be undertaken," he said.

It is not the first time social media accounts associated with the president, State House and his office are being hacked and misused.

MOST FOLLOWED

In July 2018, two Twitter accounts; @PresidentKE and @PSCU_Digital, which had been used for disseminating information to the public on behalf of the president, were pulled down.

“In this regard and with immediate effect the only official digital media channels that will convey information for and on behalf of the President, Her Excellency the First Lady and State House are as detailed below: Twitter: @StateHouseKenya, @UKenyatta, @FirstLadyKenya @KanzeDena; Facebook: State House Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, @Office of the First Lady Kenya,” Mr Waita said then.

President Kenyatta is the most followed leader in Sub-Saharan Africa on Twitter with more than three million followers.

This is according to a study released last year and dubbed Twiplomacy by Burson Cohn & Wolfe (BCW), an international communications agency.

 

Additional report by Augustine Sang

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