Tweeting Chief Kariuki Is An Inspiration To Our Generation


“I want to touch people’s lives. I want to do good. I want the world to be better because I lived here.” Those are the words of life and wisdom by a Kenyan “tweeting chief”-Mr. Francis Kariuki of Lanet Umoja location, Nakuru County. Chief Kariuki uttered those words on the poolside bench of the Intercontinental hotel as he appeared on Jeff Koinange Live, a popular TV talk show on Kenya Television Network (KTN.

For the first time in the history of the show whose ratings are in the roof, a guest; chief Kariuki-stood as a symbol of national unity of all Kenyans. Our ethnocentric cynicism and political subterfuge which more often than not defines Kenyan discourse was paralyzed by the chief’s effect.

From the peak of Mt. Kenya to the shores of Lake Victoria, Kenyans of all tribes, religion and social status were united in one harmony to congratulate a man who has transformed our community by his innovative use of technology. As tweets trickled in “thick and fast”, not a single tweet contravened the good work of our commander in chief of technology in restoration of societal trust. From cabinet secretary-Ambassador Amina Mohamed to former permanent secretary of information and communication Dr. Bitange Ndemo-tweets spoke highly of chief Kariuki.

I watched the tweeting chief with admiration. He oozes out confidence, faith and possibility. He is an embodiment of hope to our country whose hope is seemingly relative. Yet, Chief Kariuki is not your average chief. He is articulate, innovative and goal oriented leader. His strong communication skills, genuine faith and humility sets him apart as a man whose call to our society transcends self-aggrandizement. He embodies the spirit of a true servant with a heart to do good in the process of touching people’s lives.

From a humble chef in Nakuru to a chief whose stardom has captured the imagination of the world, the story of our own “tweeting chief” Kariuki started in simplicity. It is a story laced with the power of change. With innovative mind, chief Kariuki embarked on exploratory journey to re-discover how social media and technology can be engaged to mobilize community, stop crime and reduce insecurity.

Chief Kariuki began a revolution by the use of magic code number 8988 from local cellphone company-Safaricom. To get alert text messages from chief’s tweets, one is required to text “follow chief Kariuki” from any cellphone to code number 8988 and right there you get connected.  Once connected, you can receive or send alert text messages from chief Kairuki’s tweets right on your cellphone.

In cases of a threat posed by insecurity, individuals or chief will send a text message to alert members of the public who in turn come out in large numbers to foil robbery or offer help in emergency situations. It is a powerful way of engaging the public in community policing.

Further, people can sell or advertise their goods and services by sending a text message to chief who in turn sends it to members of the public who may be interested in buying or selling those goods or services. That’s technological revolution that puts security and socio-economic stability of the community in the hands of the people.

Our own “tweeting chief” is an internationally acclaimed personality. International media houses including American CNN, Huffington post and UK’s Telegraph praised chief Kariuki for his creativity in the use of technology in the light of community policing to restore peace, reduce insecurity and mobilize the community to action. The chief has since delivered a presentation at google conference in New York and he is scheduled for a similar conference in Miami Florida.

As a man who believes in transparency and accountability, chief Kariuki has given his personal cellphone number 0722 666576 to the public. With his enormous gifts and talents, the “tweeting Chief” Kariuki seems underused by our Kenyan government. He has enormous potential. If well harnessed his potential can transform the security of our country, inspire civic duty among citizens and promote good leadership and governance.

Our national security organs should move with speed to tap chief Kariuki’s talent for the purposes of enhancing our homeland security. Either way, lovers will always love. Haters will always hate. But our “tweeting chief” Kairuki, will forever remain an inspiration to our generation.

By Jacktone Ambuka-a Kenyan residing in Philadelphia, USA.

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