Kenya’s budding comedian Elsa Majimbo has been on the receiving end of a barrage of unsavory messages over the last few days.
This follows her latest interview with British model Naomi Campbell in which Elsa stated that she had been a victim of colorism.
“Lighter skin people are given more opportunities and are made to feel like they can succeed. It happens all the time and I was made to feel like just because I’m darker, that I was less pretty,” she confessed.
This did not go down well with Kenyans who spammed her Twitter handle with messages calling her out for what they claimed to have been a lie.
Kenyan comic Elsa Majimbo.
The award-winning online sensation was then targeted by thousands of Kenyans online, however, a strange pattern emerged with South Africans coming to her aid.
“So much love for South Africans who helped me begin my journey, so much love for the world which is with me on my journey now,” Elsa wrote.
This only incensed the Kenyan online ‘troops’ who kept on sending vile messages her way.
Many Kenyans today are either victims or perpetrators of cyber-bullying, knowingly or unknowingly. Thanks to increased digital penetration, more and more Kenyans are using digital social platforms to communicate and interact than ever before.
Just recently, the Chief Justice of The Supreme Court of Kenya, David Maraga shared his frustrations over bloggers. He used the example of a viral meme to show how he was been harassed by bloggers and Kenyans online. His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta responded to him by saying,
“Bwana CJ we tried passing some law to help us restrain these people (bloggers) but the court told us it was unconstitutional. Like the rest of us, get used to it”.
President Uhuru Kenyatta speaking after receiving the BBI Report at Kisii State Lodge on October 21, 2020
The President himself recently confessed to having deleted all his social media accounts due to the same bullying ‘gang’.
“I meet people personally and we engage, I don’t fancy social media. Si mnaona hata Twitter niliondoka huko kwa sababu niliona hio kitu ni bure na ni matusi tu ndio imejaa huko, hakuna kitu inaendelea, (You see, I left Twitter because I found it counter-productive as I found was abuse)” he said.
“Unaka hapo ukisoma watu wanesema nini, unakosa usingizi, unapiga simu vile umetusiwa (You sit there reading what people are writing and even lose sleep and start making phone calls),” he added during his address at the launch of the BBI signature collection on November 25.
His Twitter account was deactivated in March 2019 with State House saying it was to clean up access.
Recently, the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) hosted several executives in the ICT space to explore the menace that is cyber-bullying and general cybersecurity cases.
From the forum, it was reported that more than 50% of children experience various forms of cyber malpractice, yet they are the fastest growing online demography.
The meet further revealed that the National Government is developing a Cybersecurity Framework, although no additional details were given because the forum was mainly discussing cyber-bullying.
Notably, all cases of cyberbullying are now handled and investigated by the DCI Kenya using evidence-based approaches.
The National KE-CIRT/CC website (under the Communications Authority of Kenya ) also now has a portal where one can submit incidents of cyber-bullying for further investigation.
Section 27 of the Computer Misuse and Cybercrimes Act, 2018 provides that a person who commits an offense under subsection (1) is liable, on conviction, to a fine not exceeding twenty million shillings or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years, or to both.
The provision deals with the scourge that is cyber-bullying. Unfortunately, the statute is vague as it does not define cyber-harassment and fails to contextualize the crime.
The Act has also been castigated as it provides for punishments that would have a chilling effect on the right to freedom of expression. However, it is the only legislative provision that specifically deals with cyber-bullying in Kenya.
Elsa’s latest encounter with the infamous ‘gang’ has done little to dim her star, with the online sensation now one of the most recognizable faces in the world.
2020 has been her break out year with the crisp-crunching comedian having secured several top-notch deals with international brands.
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