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CHARACTER ASSASINATION BY SOCIAL MEDIA AMID THE WESTGATE TERROR

Barely a week since the Kenya Forum published an article under the headline ICC: WITNESS MISTAKEN IDENTITY, detailing how the photo of a 27 year old Rahab Muthoni Kagiri, a resident of Burnt Forest in Eldoret, went viral with social media users accusing her of being the real face of the ICC’s protected first witness (witness PO536) who testified against Deputy President William Ruto during the opening of his trial last week on Tuesday; Kenyans are at it yet again.

Samantha Lethwaite, also known as the 'White Widow'

Samantha Lewthwaite, also known as the ‘White Widow’

THE ‘WHITE WIDOW’?

This weekend, following the deadly terrorist attack that rocked the up-market Westgate Shopping Mall and sent shock waves reverberating around the world, photos of a British woman, Samantha Lewthwaite, who it is believed may have been involved in the attack, went viral. Unfortunately the picture which circulated widely was not of the much dreaded terrorist suspect Samantha Lewthwaite, alias the ‘white widow’, but that of one Ms Henna, a Kenyan who was also sadly caught up in the mall siege together with her nine year-old twin boys and her driver.

NO TERRORIST – A HEROINE!

Speaking to NTV reporter, Jamila Mohamed, Henna narrated how she together with her sons and the driver had taken cover at the back aisle of the Nakumatt store following the indiscriminate shooting by the terrorists. Luckily they were later rescued but on her way out she saw a badly injured woman wailing and calling for help. Despite her fright, she ran back and grabbed the lady and together they ran out of the mall amid sounds of gunshots that filled the air.

Little did she know that her gesture of kindness to save a fellow human being from the jaws of death would land her in trouble after a photo of her holding the injured woman made the rounds on social media with users claiming she was one of the terrorists (the ‘white widow’) who escaped posing as a civilian.

“I did what I thought was right at that point, to help someone. I was also stuck in there with my kids and I was so scared,” she said.

NEXT TIME PERHAPS NOT SO LUCKY

Just like Rahab whose life was put at risk following the false allegations that she was the witness at the ICC, Henna would also wake up to the heart-breaking reality that she had been turned into a most wanted terrorist. Luckily her side of the story has also gone viral and hopefully that that will be enough to undo the damage.

The Kenya Forum once again cautions social media users to refrain from making lethal unfounded allegations against fellow citizens because it’s dangerous and perhaps next time a victim will not be so lucky to live to give his or her side of the story and put the record straight.

The late Christabel talks about Dr Ouko’s return from Washington.

Sam Okello talking about Mrs Ouko

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