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Painful lessons learnt from social media




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Social media is one of the clearest examples of what a double-edged sword looks like – on the one hand, one can use it to promote their career and social life, and on the other, it might just be what crumbles your career and social life.

“Recruiters often review social media profiles of short-listed candidates. From this, we can get a hint of the candidate’s professional profile, achievements, social styling, interests, connections and an overall outlook of the individual. You will be amazed at how much we can decipher from someone’s social media profile,” says Sonia Raja, founder of, whose objective is to make recruitment efficient through digital talent matching technologies for employers as well as providing career guidance for job seekers.

This perhaps should come as no surprise because a 2017 study by CareerBuilder (a career website based in the US) found that 70 percent of employers use social media to screen candidates, up from 11 percent in 2006.

The website added that half of employers check current employees’ social media profiles while over a third have reprimanded or fired an employee for inappropriate content on their pages. Not only this, another 54 percent have decided not to hire a candidate based on their social media profiles.

The study also found that 57 percent of employers are less likely to interview a candidate they cannot find online.

Among many other factors that could be working against young people in their search for jobs include compromising photos or inappropriate comments.

“As an employee of the company, you are also a reflection of the brand,” she explains.

Another area of concern is incomplete and inaccurate professional profiles, especially on LinkedIn.

“A good LinkedIn profile with a brief description of achievements in each role with the right key words and interest areas can help job seekers connect better with employers. Avoid spelling and grammar mistakes. Being dishonest will cost you.” explains Sonia.

“A candidate submitted a CV with work experience totally different to that on their LinkedIn profile, which made us question the individual’s integrity. On contacting the supposed previous employers for a reference, we confirmed that this person had not worked at the companies they had listed.” This person was, of course, not hired.

What have been your key learnings in regard to how you use social media?

Wanjiku Njung’e, 21

Wanjiku Njung'e Thespian during her interview

Wanjiku Njung’e Thespian during her interview at Nation on January 30 2019.PHOTO| SILA KIPLAGAT

Ill-informed Facebook wrath is what awoke her to the reality of what social media should be used for and what it should not.

“I was chatting with a certain guy who is purely a friend, only for his supposed girlfriend to send me a message warning me to stay away from her boyfriend. I was appalled because really, there was nothing inappropriate in our conversation.

Miffed, I took to my Facebook wall to rant about women who cannot keep their boyfriends happy.

Unfortunately, people took it the wrong way. I got several bad comments, with some people saying that I am one of those women who ‘steal’ other people’s boyfriends. That incident prompted me to stop using Facebook. I still have an account, but I have not used it since 2017,” she says.

One of her key takeaways from that incident was that not everything is solved on social media.

“I currently only use Instagram, and with the Facebook incident in mind, I don’t post just any photos, I am careful about the perception that people will have of me from what I post.

Also, I am a born again Christian and also work for a Christian organisation, so I have to portray a certain image. I am also very particular about the captions that accompany my picture – I ensure that they are a reflection of my beliefs,” she adds.

Wanjiku also refrains from commenting about controversial matters such as politics and does not say anything negative about other people’s faiths.

“People interact with what you post on social media long before you meet them, a lesson I have learned from the various guest speakers my employer has invited to give talks related to social media. The fact is that people think you are a reflection of what you post on social media. Always filter what you put out there because the internet never forgets.”

Eunice Wambugu, 26

Eunice Wambugu.

Eunice Wambugu during the interview at Nation Centre on Thursday, January 31, 2019. PHOTO| DENNIS ONSONGO.
When she first joined Facebook in 2012, she was a carefree user – mostly posting about the places that she visited, the food she ate, or just how she dressed.

“I projected an extravagant lifestyle because that is how I wanted people to view me. This changed after I got my first job in 2013. I got a job as cabin crew with an airline and felt that I needed to start portraying a professional persona,” she explains.

The personal brand Eunice is keen on portraying today is that of a young woman who other young people can look up to and be inspired by, someone on whose page they can go to learn and get positive vibes.

“I stay away from politics and also refrain from commenting about people’s private lives. When I started working, we were taught about personal branding and how that impacts the image of the company. Even though we did not have a company policy regarding use of social media, we were made to understand that being involved in any form of online misconduct would reflect poorly on the image of the company and would lead to dismissal. A few of my colleagues lost their jobs after flouting these rules,” she says.

Lloyd Kahi, 26

Llyod Kahi.

Llyod Kahi during his interview at Nation on January 31 2019. PHOTO| SILA KIPLAGAT

Some of his key lessons regarding the persona he puts on social media, (Facebook especially) have come from two close friends.

“They had the habit of using Facebook while drunk, and would end up posting inappropriate content, mostly sexually explicit, on their Facebook walls. This came to haunt one of them when he was denied a job after the employer came across a picture on Facebook that put his character into question,” he says.

Lloyd has been on Facebook since 2007, where he operates his business (Aplico, an online appliances store) solely on this platform.


“I am very careful about the content that I post on social media because I am aware of the effect that my content is likely to have on people. Rule of thumb: I do not share my political views on Facebook because my business targets everyone irrespective of their political beliefs. I would not want to antagonise my clients. Before I post anything on social media, I thoroughly go through it – social media is your private press conference, remember people are watching.”

He takes the conversation further: “Before I get into a relationship with someone, I first check their Facebook profile because that is a good avenue to check what her circles look like, what they stand for and generally get a feel of the kind of person they are. I assume they do the same with me.”

There is no doubt in Lloyd’s mind that the internet is a gold mine, but only for those who use it well.

Willies Misare.

Willies Misare during the interview at Nation Centre on Thursday, January 31, 2019. PHOTO| DENNIS ONSONGO.

As a matter of principle, Willies does not put the name of the company he works for on social media platforms, he only does it once he stops working for the company.

“Social media can easily be used to witch-hunt especially where the line between free self-expression and expression that is seen as representing your company is not clearly drawn,” he says.

All his lessons on the dos and don’ts of social media use have come from other people’s experiences – such as a friend who got fired after someone tagged his boss a Tweet he had put out, one that went against the values of his employer.

“I do not see social media as something that is eternally linked to my career, that is why, while I seek to build a strong personal brand on social media and to market myself as a professional, I prefer to have distinction between my job and social media. On social media for example, I hold very strong opinions about diverse issues that, sometimes, have not gone down well with some, but as long as the topic is one that I can defend to a logical conclusion, I am always willing to take it on,” he says.

The other thing that he does not do on social media is plagiarise.

“I am very keen on building my personal brand, as someone who shares opinions and ideas on various issues, I am very deliberate about how the content I put on social media advances this notion of me. Brand credibility can get seriously dented if one is caught plagiarising.”

He adds, “I also do not contribute in any embarrassing conversations in smaller groups or even on a one-on-one basis on social media, lest it becomes public.”

His advice? If you are employed, find out if the company has a social media policy, and if it does, take some time to familiarise yourself with it. Secondly, use the different social media platforms available appropriately – Misare’s LinkedIn is for work and other professional engagements while Facebook is for his persona.

Irene Joseph, 33

Irene Joseph.

Irene Joseph, an entrepreneur in skincare and beauty during an interview at Nation Centre on February 1,2019. PHOTO| EVANS HABIL
Irene views social media as a place to conduct business. For a business to thrive, she says, the owner must be perceived as trustworthy and professional.

“A friend’s business collapsed due to negative online publicity, and when this happened, she took too long to respond to customer complaints. When she did, she did not apologise. This incident taught me that it is important to promptly respond to your clients whether they are praising you, or criticising you,” she says.

Irene agrees that social media can make or break your career, and it is this awareness that informs the choices that she makes about the posts that she puts on social media.

“I started becoming conscious of how I use social media in 2017. I had just got my current that job, which involves a lot of brand marketing, prompting me to learn about best practices on social media from established media influencers. I also learned that to be successful at marketing on social media, you must be consistent and actively engage your audience because this is the only way you will earn their trust,” she says.

If you use social media for business, Irene advices enrolling on platforms than you can comfortably run.

“I only use Facebook and Instagram because I have to regularly update my followers – I post at least twice a day, during which I actively engage and respond to my followers.”

When she gets negative feedback, she is careful to give a positive reply because some can use what you post to misquote you.


August 2018: Twitter user @NaomiH_official excitedly tweeted: “EVERYONE SHUT THE F**K UP I GOT ACCEPTED FOR A NASA INTERNSHIP”

Homer Hickam – science fiction author, former NASA engineer and current member of the US National Space Council – tweeted just one word at @NaomiH_official – “Language.”

Clearly not knowing who he was, @NaomiH_official’s crude response to Mr Hickam was, “Suck my d**k and balls I’m working at NASA.”

“And I am on the National Space Council that oversees NASA,” Mr Hickam replied. Source: Newshub
She lost her internship with NASA.

January 2011: Someone called Connor Riley tweeted: Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work

An employee from Cisco, Tim Levad, replied: Who is the hiring manager? I’m sure they would love to know that you will hate the work. We here at Cisco are versed in the Web.

Source: Business Insider
He lost the job offer.

January 2019: Harrison Mumia tweeted: “I thought MP Alfred Keter was in government. I thought ako ndaani ndaani. Mbona anashikwa na his government tena? (I thought he was an insider, why is then being arrested by his government?) As a Jubilee MP surely!!! Unless being in government is a myth! For those who voted for Jubilee, mko ndaani ya (you are in] government in what sense?” the tweet read.
Source: The Star
He lost his job because his tweet was against his employer’s social media policy, which forbids partisan politicking on social media.

2013: Justine Sacco tweeted: “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I am White!”

Her employer responded: “This is an outrageous, offensive comment that does not reflect the views and values of IAC. Unfortunately, the employee in question is unreachable on an international flight, but this is a very serious matter and we are taking appropriate action.
Source: Linda Ikeji blog

She lost her job due to the public outcry over her Tweet.



Sordid tale of the bank ‘that would bribe God’




Bank of Credit and Commerce International. August 1991. [File, Standard]

“This bank would bribe God.” These words of a former employee of the disgraced Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) sum up one of the most rotten global financial institutions.
BCCI pitched itself as a top bank for the Third World, but its spectacular collapse would reveal a web of transnational corruption and a playground for dictators, drug lords and terrorists.
It was one of the largest banks cutting across 69 countries and its aftermath would cause despair to innocent depositors, including Kenyans.
BCCI, which had $20 billion (Sh2.1 trillion in today’s exchange rate) assets globally, was revealed to have lost more than its entire capital.
The bank was founded in 1972 by the crafty Pakistani banker Agha Hasan Abedi.
He was loved in his homeland for his charitable acts but would go on to break every rule known to God and man.
In 1991, the Bank of England (BoE) froze its assets, citing large-scale fraud running for several years. This would see the bank cease operations in multiple countries. The Luxembourg-based BCCI was 77 per cent owned by the Gulf Emirate of Abu Dhabi.  
BoE investigations had unearthed laundering of drugs money, terrorism financing and the bank boasted of having high-profile customers such as Panama’s former strongman Manual Noriega as customers.
The Standard, quoting “highly placed” sources reported that Abu Dhabi ruler Sheikh Zayed Sultan would act as guarantor to protect the savings of Kenyan depositors.
The bank had five branches countrywide and panic had gripped depositors on the state of their money.
Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) would then move to appoint a manager to oversee the operations of the BCCI operations in Kenya.
It sent statements assuring depositors that their money was safe.
The Standard reported that the Sheikh would be approaching the Kenyan and other regional subsidiaries of the bank to urge them to maintain operations and assure them of his personal support.
It was said that contact between CBK and Abu Dhabi was “likely.”
This came as the British Ambassador to the UAE Graham Burton implored the gulf state to help compensate Britons, and the Indian government also took similar steps.
The collapse of BCCI was, however, not expect to badly hit the Kenyan banking system. This was during the sleazy 1990s when Kenya’s banking system was badly tested. It was the era of high graft and “political banks,” where the institutions fraudulently lent to firms belonging or connected to politicians, who were sometimes also shareholders.
And even though the impact was expected to be minimal, it was projected that a significant number of depositors would transfer funds from Asian and Arab banks to other local institutions.
“Confidence in Arab banking has taken a serious knock,” the “highly placed” source told The Standard.
BCCI didn’t go down without a fight. It accused the British government of a conspiracy to bring down the Pakistani-run bank.  The Sheikh was said to be furious and would later engage in a protracted legal battle with the British.
“It looks to us like a Western plot to eliminate a successful Muslim-run Third World Bank. We know that it often acted unethically. But that is no excuse for putting it out of business, especially as the Sultan of Abu Dhabi had agreed to a restructuring plan,” said a spokesperson for British Asians.
A CBK statement signed by then-Deputy Governor Wanjohi Murithi said it was keenly monitoring affairs of the mother bank and would go to lengths to protect Kenyan depositors.
“In this respect, the CBK has sought and obtained the assurance of the branch’s management that the interests of depositors are not put at risk by the difficulties facing the parent company and that the bank will meet any withdrawal instructions by depositors in the normal course of business,” said Mr Murithi.
CBK added that it had maintained surveillance of the local branch and was satisfied with its solvency and liquidity.
This was meant to stop Kenyans from making panic withdrawals.
For instance, armed policemen would be deployed at the bank’s Nairobi branch on Koinange Street after the bank had announced it would shut its Kenyan operations.
In Britain, thousands of businesses owned by British Asians were on the verge of financial ruin following the closure of BCCI.
Their firms held almost half of the 120,000 bank accounts registered with BCCI in Britain. 
The African Development Bank was also not spared from this mess, with the bulk of its funds deposited and BCCI and stood to lose every coin.
Criminal culture
In Britain, local authorities from Scotland to the Channel Islands are said to have lost over £100 million (Sh15.2 billion in today’s exchange rate).
The biggest puzzle remained how BCCI was allowed by BoE and other monetary regulation authorities globally to reach such levels of fraudulence.
This was despite the bank being under tight watch owing to the conviction of some of its executives on narcotics laundering charges in the US.
Coast politician, the late Shariff Nassir, would claim that five primary schools in Mombasa lost nearly Sh1 million and appealed to then Education Minister George Saitoti to help recover the savings. Then BoE Governor Robin Leigh-Pemberton condemned it as so deeply immersed in fraud that rescue or recovery – at least in Britain – was out of the question.
“The culture of the bank is criminal,” he said. The bank was revealed to have targeted the Third World and had created several “institutional devices” to promote its operations in developing countries.
These included the Third World Foundation for Social and Economic Studies, a British-registered charity.
“It allowed it to cultivate high-level contacts among international statesmen,” reported The Observer, a British newspaper.
BCCI also arranged an annual Third World lecture and a Third World prize endowment fund of about $10 million (Sh1 billion in today’s exchange rate).
Winners of the annual prize had included Nelson Mandela (1985), sir Bob Geldof (1986) and Archbishop Desmond Tutu (1989).
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Agricultural Development Corporation Chief Accountant Gerald Karuga on the Spot Over Fraud –




Gerald Karuga, the acting chief accountant at the Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC), is on the spot over fraud in land dealings.

ADC was established in 1965 through an Act of Parliament Cap 346 to facilitate the land transfer programme from European settlers to locals after Kenya gained independence.

Karuga is under fire for allegedly aiding a former powerful permanent secretary in the KANU era Benjamin Kipkulei to deprive ADC beneficiaries of their land in Naivasha.

Kahawa Tungu understands that the aggrieved parties continue to protest the injustice and are now asking the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (EACC) and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to probe Karuga.

A source who spoke to Weekly Citizen publication revealed that Managing Director Mohammed Dulle is also involved in the mess at ADC.

Read: Ministry of Agriculture Apologizes After Sending Out Tweets Portraying the President in bad light

Dulle is accused of sidelining a section of staffers in the parastatal.

The sources at ADC intimated that Karuga has been placed strategically at ADC to safeguard interests of many people who acquired the corporations’ land as “donations” from former President Daniel Arap Moi.

Despite working at ADC for many years Karuga has never been transferred, a trend that has raised eyebrows.

“Karuga has worked here for more than 30 years and unlike other senior officers in other parastatals who are transferred after promotion or moved to different ministries, for him, he has stuck here for all these years and we highly suspect that he is aiding people who were dished out with big chunks of land belonging to the corporation in different parts of the country,” said the source.

In the case of Karuga safeguarding Kipkulei’s interests, workers at the parastatals and the victims who claim to have lost their land in Naivasha revealed that during the Moi regime some senior officials used dubious means to register people as beneficiaries of land without their knowledge and later on colluded with rogue land officials at the Ministry of Lands to acquire title deeds in their names instead of those of the benefactors.

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“We have information that Karuga has benefitted much from Kipkulei through helping him and this can be proved by the fact that since the matter of the Naivasha land began, he has been seen changing and buying high-end vehicles that many people of his rank in government can’t afford to buy or maintain,” the source added.

“He is even building a big apartment for rent in Ruiru town.”

The wealthy officer is valued at over Sh1.5 billion in prime properties and real estate.

Last month, more than 100 squatters caused scenes in Naivasha after raiding a private firm owned by Kipkulei.

The squatters, who claimed to have lived on the land for more than 40 years, were protesting take over of the land by a private developer who had allegedly bought the land from the former PS.

They pulled down a three-kilometre fence that the private developed had erected.

The squatters claimed that the former PS had not informed them that he had sold the land and that the developer was spraying harmful chemicals on the grass affecting their livestock and homes built on a section of the land.

Read Also: DP Ruto Wants NCPB And Other Agricultural Bodies Merged For Efficiency

Naivasha Deputy County Commissioner Kisilu Mutua later issued a statement warning the squatters against encroaching on Kipkuleir’s land.

“They are illegally invading private land. We shall not allow the rule of the jungle to take root,” warned Mutua.

Meanwhile, a parliamentary committee recently demanded to know identities of 10 faceless people who grabbed 30,350 acres of land belonging to the parastatal, exposing the rot at the corporation.

ADC Chairman Nick Salat, who doubles up as the KANU party Secretary-General, denied knowledge of the individuals and has asked DCI to probe the matter.

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William Ruto eyes Raila Odinga Nyanza backyard




Deputy President William Ruto will next month take his ‘hustler nation’ campaigns to his main rival, ODM leader Raila Odinga’s Nyanza backyard, in an escalation of the 2022 General Election competition.

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