Personal Democracy Plus Our premium content network. LEARN MORE You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

The Role of Technology in the Aftermath of Westgate

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, September 25 2013

An image that spread on social media networks during the Westgate attack (ILRI/Flickr)

“Are all our questions actually going to be answered?” That is the question of questions regarding the Westgate Mall attack, one of many that Kenyan citizens have posed to their government. Many have voiced their frustration and concern on Twitter. Altogether, they have at least 85 pressing questions which have been aggregated in a crowdsourced Google doc. There might have been more, but the administrator of the doc decided that the 85 questions were “adequate” and closed the doc. One of the most pressing unanswered questions in what the Christian Science Monitor called a “Kenya info blackout” is “Where are the hostages?”

The questions range from the most basic, e.g. “How many people are still unaccounted for?” to the very specific, “Do the police have access to architectural plans of Westgate and have the air vents too been checked to ensure no terrorist is hiding?” to the very complicated, “Why is Kenya a terrorist target for the nth time? What have we done? More importantly why is the Government not able to protect its citizens? Fow [sic] how long will we react instead of prevent?”

The tone of the questions ranges from frustration and outrage to sadness and anger. Some teeter on the verge of panic, and understandably so.

Meanwhile, Kenyans are also turning to crowdfunding to collect donations, using the mobile money platform m-Pesa. It has collected more than US$625,000 in donations for the victims of Westgate. Safaricom, the M-Pesa operator, set up a zero-rated number for Kenyans to send their donations on M-Pesa. It seems like quite a bit, but the target amount set by the Kenya Red Cross Society is US$920,000.

“I would like to thank Kenyans for their overwhelming support-we have seen Kenyans come out in large numbers to donate blood and share the proverbial ten cents to help out a brother and sister in need. The Kenyan giving spirit never ceases to amaze me and I would like to call on all of you not to tire because the task ahead may be daunting but with your help, we will overcome,” said General Secretary Abbas Gullet.

He also addressed in a roundabout way the issue of corrupution and public funds: “Further, I would like to reassure all Kenyans that we will account for every penny received towards this worthy cause. Please continue contributing. Asanteni sana.”

Personal Democracy Media is grateful to the Omidyar Network and the UN Foundation for their generous support of techPresident's WeGov section.

News Briefs

RSS Feed monday >

After Election Loss, Teachout and Wu Keep Up Net Neutrality and Anti-Comcast Merger Campaign

The Teachout/Wu campaign may have lost, but their pro net-neutrality campaign continued Monday as both former candidates participated in a rallly in New York City marking the final day to comment on the Federal Communications Commission's Internet proposals and kept up their pressure on Governor Andrew Cuomo. GO

friday >

NYC Politicians and Advocacy Groups Say Airbnb Misrepresents Sharing Economy

A coalition of New York election officials and affordable housing groups have launched an advocacy effort targeting Airbnb called "Share Better" that includes an ad campaign, a web platform, and social media outreach. GO

First POST: Data Dumps

The Internet Slowdown's impact on the FCC; Uber drivers try to go on strike; four kinds of civic tech; and much, much more. GO

thursday >

First POST: Positive Sums

How Teachout won some wealthy districts while Cuomo won some poor ones; DailyKos's explosive traffic growth; using Facebook for voter targeting; and much, much more. GO

More