In amidst further chaos caused by nearly country-wide maandamano, this week has been especially exciting, and concerning, because of the series of presumed hacks orchestrated on the online portals to government organisations.
Furthermore, one of the topics we have covered at length has again seen its re-emergence, perhaps unsurprisingly. The death of Kenya’s one-time Minister for Foreign Affairs, Robert Ouko, still captivates the imagination and curiosity of Kenyans to this day. In journalistic circles, we have heard the death considered as Kenya’s JFK: an event so pivotal and culture-shaping it’s history defining capacity reverberates even today.
So, without further ado, this week’s biggest stories, why they’re so large and what they mean for Kenyans.
Cyber security threat to all of Kenya’s government agencies?
On Thursday, the Cabinet Secretary for ICT, Mr. Eliud Owalo, confirmed that the government’s eCitizen platform had indeed been hacked. This followed a flurry of varied and sometimes conflicting social media speculations alerting us as to why many of the government’s online portals were down and unusable.
Mr. Owalo stated that the ‘Anonymous’ group of hackers was behind the cyber attack and that it was ‘Anonymous Sudan’, the Sudan-specific chapter of the group, that was behind the coordinated attack on the Kenyan government.
‘Anonymous Sudan’ is thought to be linked to several prior attacks on the online portals to government bodies in the US, France, Scandinavia, Israel and Australia. Statements made by social media accounts purporting to be linked to the group give vague reasons for the attack, stating simply that their ‘mood is full’ and that the Kenyan government has been ‘tamed like doggies’.
It must be said that there are individuals who are somewhat disbelieving of the fact that this attack came from the Sudanese Anonymous chapter. Nathaniel Mong’are, whose twitter bio states he is the ANC’s ICT and Programs director, sat on an NTV panel and stated his belief that this was a government drill.
We, at the Kenya Forum, cannot at present comment on this aspersion. It does, however, seem unlikely that the government would sanction a cyber security ‘drill’ which has resulted in lost ticket purchases on Kenya Railways, the reversion back to visa on arrival issuances, and widespread disruption.
Protests and dissent against Ruto’s government continues
In a week in which the Law Society of Kenya has highlighted the fact of children’s rights being violated by police as they tackle unrest, a new angle to the protests has emerged.
The protests against the UDA government are obviously ongoing. There has been no handshake. They have, however, taken on – according to some – a different tone.
According to some self-avowed Twitter sleuths, the story above this one is in fact better linked to the protests against Ruto and the rising cost of living than it is Sudanese hackers. On Twitter, the hashtags, #DigitalMaandamano and #SabotageByAzimio are presently trending.
Those that have tweeted with these hashtags believe that the coordinated attacks, presently being considered as a series of DDOS (Digital Denial Of Service) attacks suggest that this is Raila’s latest attempt to bring the country to a standstill. If this is the case, and there is no suggestion other than the online musings of interested parties that it is, then we may be looking at the new face of civil disturbance.
Robert Ouko’s murder, and the murder of Julie Ward, rises again in prominence
Robert Ouko’s murder, as has been stated, still captivates Kenya’s communal imagination. We won’t use this article to detail the gory details, the unsolved mysteries, the injustices suffered on his family and the failures of the investigating authorities that surround this murder.
We have covered all of that before in the below-linked articles.
With this segment we want to explore why this murder still matters, why it still captivates. It has again done the rounds this week because of a Star feature which looked into both Julie Ward and Robert Ouko’s unsolved murders.
Robert Ouko was obviously high up in government, and that is part of the reason curiosity about his death is still so unsated. It is also because he was seen by many as a shining light in an otherwise dark time for Kenyan politics.
He was also a Luo and with the tribal element to present unrest not lost on any Kenyan, we will know why this is important in keeping the curiosity about his murder alive.
However, the case is also important as a barometer, a measuring yard, that considers where we as a country are, how far we may yet go and from what we came from. The question marks surrounding Ouko’s death are blemishes; they are open-ended areas of uncertainty that tell us if his family still cannot expect justice, fairness and a truthful answer to the question of what can I expect in this life, can any of us?
That question – asked in the midst of unrest that is being reported on world-wide – now seems as pertinent as it ever was.
Read more about the Robert Ouko murder here:
‘The Murders of Julie Ward and Dr Robert Ouko, and the ‘Madness’ of Valentine Kodipo and George Wajackoyah’
‘Murder of Robert Ouko: what really happened’