The last time I went to Westgate was exactly a week before the famed attack the mall is now associated with. When I say exactly, I mean exact, down to the hour.
I was meeting up with some friends in between my trips in and out of Kenya. It was the first time I’d been to Urban Burger. It was also the first time I realised how massive Nakumatt was. For some odd reason that day, all our phones either dead or close to it. So we were moving about in a panic, trying to finish our chores so we could regroup outside and go about our plans for the day.
The next time that same group of friends regrouped was at Aga Khan Hospital, one week later, to volunteer and donate blood. We were watching the updates terrified, all thinking the same thing, none of us saying it. Continue reading →
I was watching my Twitter timeline intently on Monday evening.
Reports that a bomb had gone off in the CBD at the OCL bus stage and that there may have been deaths, definitely ‘tens of injuries’.
It wasn’t shock or fear that immediately overwhelmed me; moreso confusion and malaise. My first question was obviously “Does this have anything to do with the ongoing efforts in Somalia?” If so, this was a clear escalation and warranting of some concern. If not, it meant yet another problem – threat, perhaps – had befallen our country.
On my way to work this morning, I glanced at the paper and two stories caught my attention. One was about Paul Muite suing someone on Facebook, which I thought was hilarious. I don’t remember the details, but Muite was demanding an apology from someone who claimed he coached ICC witnesses. According to the story, if the apology doesn’t come in 7 days, things will go to court. I found the whole thing hilarious and wondered why I hadn’t seen it on Twitter. Apparently, the story did break online. Last week.
The second story that moved me was the one about the war. Yes, in case you haven’t heard, we’re allegedly at war with Somalia.
I didn’t want to write this piece, because it’s a weighty issue, and I don’t like approaching weighty issues with a lack of knowledge. I don’t have all the statistics about the number of troops, the reason behind the war, the ideology at work and all that. But as I trawled my timeline, I felt everyone was missing the point. Continue reading →
I’ve never been one to care much for the media. I barely watch TV, and I only watch the news if there’s absolutely nothing else on or the internet isn’t working. Why? Because when I was very young I learned media houses were owned by various political entities. Shocked as I was, I remember my mother telling me this like it was just common knowledge. As I grew, I came to learn that it was. So how are we supposed to trust people who clearly have other interests? They’re all liars as far as I’m concerned; bake you a mud pie and tell you it’s chocolate fudge.
So I wasn’t surprised when a new tip got to me that a certain huge media house was involved in some shenanigans. The TV station in question had been running ads for an exposé Investigative Feature that brought to light the fact that the Kenyan government was recruiting Kenyan youths to the Somali National Army to go to Somalia and fight Al Shabaab. What supposedly happened next was that some super high ranking military bullies marched their way into this media house and put a halt on the show that was supposed to start yesterday. Continue reading →
Last night, as passengers boarded a Kampala bound bus, an explosion prematurely aborted their trip. Newspaper titles everywhere now read: “Two Dead, 41 Injured”.
One of those that died was one of the people carrying the explosives onto the bus. As the story goes, three men tried to sneak-force their way onto the bus with a box. They refused to be submitted to a security check. One thing led to another(i.e. details differ at this point) but the bomb went off before everybody had boarded. The 30 or so who were already on the bus were unharmed. The others, not so much. Among that crowd was a friend of DR and fellow Kenyan blogger, Kellie. Prayers for a speedy recovery go out to her and everybody else. One of the bombers perished instantly, one was injured, the other fled the scene almost instantly.
The reasons for the bombings are vague and yet still quite simple. Supposedly, Uganda is being targeted because they provided military support to the AU Somali peacekeeping crew, AMISON. Al-Shabaab has sworn revenge for this and since bombed Uganda several times.
We were all shocked, saddened and even angered by the recent news of a militant Islamic group based in Somalia killing 74 people in Uganda and injuring many more. Stripped bare, these are criminal acts punishable both under Uganda’s domestic laws as well as under international law, committed against unarmed civilians of a sovereign state.
But let us not sheepishly follow those who insist on condemning these acts of terror as “cowardly”. Continue reading →