After nearly a full week where media personality and social influencer Mandi Sarro was Twitter's hot topic, the conversation is still far from over.
Mandi, who also goes as Miss Mandii was accused of bullying a former colleague, attracting love and hate from Kenyans on Twitter and other social media platforms.
By the time, Mandi made a public apology on Saturday evening, she had become a lighting rod for criticism and hate.
The storm started, ironically, from a Tweet by mandi herself made about accountability. A reply by her accuser, former colleague Gitobu Koome, sent Twitter into a meltdown.
Koome claimed that mandi "constantly terrorized him" when they worked together.
Through a statement shared online, Mandi stated that she does not recall the many experiences recounted online but acknowledged that there are some things she might have done that impacted her colleagues negatively.
“As I grow older I have ensured to continuously correct my behaviour at the earliest opportunity and learn from my past mistakes and interactions. Although this entire conversation has taken a life of its own, I still see this as another opportunity for self-improvement and I do not intend to waste it,” she wrote.
Mandi apologised to all those she might have wronged through her actions and words, stating that it was never her intention.
“I apologise. I feel terrible that some of my actions could have caused those who have interacted with me such distress because that is not who I am now or what I stand for.”
She also opined on the tweet that sparked the whole ‘bullying conversation’, maintaining that she stands by those words but the situation could have been handled better.
Taking positives out of the incident, Mandi said it highlighted the importance of healthy avenues to resolve workplace conflicts.
“I cannot underestimate how important it is to create safe workspaces for all I come into contact with.
“So I pray and hope that anyone who may have been hurt by previous colleagues will find new ways to address those conflicts which allow them to be genuinely resolved,” she wrote, adding that she will work on constantly become a better version of herself.
Gitobu has posted that while they were colleagues, Mandi would mock him for not being able to live a classy lifestyle, a claim that broke Twitter.
The furore online quickly caught other media personalities in the crossfire, amonng them Amina Abdi, to which she replied on a show she hosts on a local TV station, saying she was sorry to anyone she might have hurt.
“That, I apologise for, but toxic? I am not,” Amina said before stating that she was not going to shy away from the conversation just because she was trending.
She continued, “I do show people a lot of love, social media – I don’t know.”
The matter has further spiraled south with some kenyans online citing discrepancies and double standards when it comes to matters bullying and sexual harassment.
“Miss Mandi and Amina's case clearly proves how the war on men has been stretched and thrives in the world. Few months ago Shaffie and Joe got sacked for having remarks on air. Ironically Feminists are laying low on this, men on the verge of extinction,” tweeted @lusista_
This was in reference to when radio Radio Africa Group axed its breakfast team over alleged Gender-based violence utterances. The team comprised of Shaffie Weru, his co-host Neville Musya and a popular deejay, Joe Mfalme.
The debate continues growing with leading celebrities, among them Shaffie Weru and Caroline Mutoko weighing in on the matter.
“Men are like high heels, they’re easy to walk on once you get the hang of it...,” posted Shaffie Weru.
“Good morning, do yourself a favour. Move me and my squad from your gossip club to your vision board. #hatupangwingi” posted Caroline Mutoko. In the same post she featured a collage photo of herself, Gina Din and Amina Abdi.
Kenyans On Twitter (KOT), an amorphous online group that is known to champion its voice on social issues affecting Kenyans, and adept as trolls, has been pushing on cancelling people adversely mentioned in controversial issues as well as defending Kenya on arising cross-border matters. Sometimes, these attacks amount cyber bullying.
Kenyans versus Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania and South Africa have been some of the highlights, with the jokesters and meme-makers keen to overpower the other countries with insults and cruel humor.
Despite painting KOT in bad light, they are one close family. They help out anytime they are needed and they come out in droves. They have fundraised, organised charity drives and also supported small businesses with all their might.
Unfortunately, many Kenyans today are either victims or perpetrators of cyber-bullying, knowingly or unknowingly.
“Kenya is blessed with ruthless trolls who can never mind their own business even when minding their own business requires zero capital. The way Kenyans behave on social media makes you think those who bribe, rob with violence, impregnate women and abandon them, neglect families and children, run away with taxpayers’ money in sacks, rig elections, rig exams and generally do all evil are Ugandans, Tanzanians, Martians or from planet Kepler 452b” posted Johnston Katuku on Facebook.
A 2020 survey on by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) ranked Kenyans as the worst bullies on Twitter.
They have been called toothless keyboard warrior and been compared to dogs that back without biting. They are ruthless, unapologetic but deep down the hard skin is a soft underbelly of a family that comes together when needed.