Kenyans on Twitter, KOT, as they’re known are viscous and unforgiving. They’ve been named the official opposition in Kenya given how they use Twitter to push for transparency and other agendas.
However, the lethal troop is also one of the most easily swayed and distracted lot. More often when a hot topic pops, everyone and their bots will be participating but as soon as the topic relegates from the trending list, another pops in and the previous is forgotten and the cycle keeps.
A few weeks back, for about two days, Nairobi West Hospital was the hottest trending topic and this was from testimonials from KOT who aired their horror stories from experiences in the hospital. It was disturbing, from preventable deaths, misdiagnosis and overpricing. The hospital received multiple allegations that in any working system would literally shutdown the hospital.
It all started with a tweet updating on the hospital’s new venture in helipad. The replies were utterly shocking, the horrors of what was going behind the shadows. You can click and read the comments and the tweet.
That’s just a sample of more than 10,000 tweets of complaints that poured out on the hospital in only those two days it was trending. It even opened a box of pandora when renowned activist claimed that the hospital was sitting on a grabbed public land.
The hospital is owned by Jayesh Saini, the one famous for the Clinix, NHIF saga and whose hospitals Bliss healthcare that is currently in war with TSC as teachers complain of getting a raw deal from the insurance tender the employer awarded to the entrepreneur. He was also in the headline this year for illegally smuggling the Russian Sputnik vaccine which the government blocked after a public outcry that they weren’t WHO approved.
Despite all the noises made, KOT moved on, there’s nothing that has been heard from the case. Unclear if any regulatory body within the ministry of health followed up to ascertain the claims. It died a natural death, business goes on as usual in the hospital and mainstream media didn’t pick up either because they were conveniently silenced.
This begs the question of effectiveness of the social media trends, if they’re not followed up with action, they’re as good as dead.
For the millionth time, Equity Bank is trending for all the obvious reasons, customers scammed. The bank has become so synonymous with fraud cases that every time you see it on the trends, you automatically know it’s nothing positive.
This time, a businessman in Meru who was taken up as an agent for the bank’s aerial system, got hammered badly. According to a friend wgo narrated his story online. The businessman took up the opportunity of being an agent after being invited and trained.
He was making great daily returns until one day when he failed to meet the obligations when the bank turned tables on him.
It all starts in 2000 where he was baking cakes in Meru’s Kooje slums & distributed them in his bicycle. Through sheer hardwork, he transitioned into retail business and relocated. By 2005, he had established a successful retail business.
By 2009, he was making ksh200K per day in sales. Banks courted him for loans. He was reluctant.
When equity bank rolled out agency banking, he was a prime candidate. He was recruited. It was time to diversify & grow. In no time, he was the banks best agent in Meru county and was feted by the bank. He was a constant feature at bank halls, opening accs & registering equitel.
It’s on this basis that he was selected for a seminar/training on enhanced partnership. At the seminar, they’re offered a facility thro which they could access short-term float to offer seamless services. They would borrow and repay same day at zero interest. No contract signed.
He borrowed between ksh200k -ksh500k daily & repaid the same day without a hitch. Every was good. Equity bank called often, made videos of his business & ran it in its banking halls. His calls were on priority list.
Then came the rude shock day. He had borrowed ksh200k on that day. By end of day, he had ~ ksh170k in float. He made frantic calls to fellow agents to buy additional float. They’d none. Frustrated, he went to bed & decided to make settlement the following morning. Shock awaited!
In the morning, as usual, he logged & checked his account balance. He almost fainted.
The bank had charged him ksh18K daily for the facility. For entire 3 months. That totalled >ksh1M in interest for money he had repaid same day & was sold as zero interest facility.
He cried rushed to the bank manager & sought audience. The mood had changed. The manager said bank position on facility had changed. He had to pay. For a week, he walked into every office, made calls, he was no longer welcome. His videos were pulled down, threats followed.
He ran out of options & decided to start payments.
Further shock awaited. Every time he deposited for a customer, bank would deduct ksh18K & CR customer with the rest. Customers would go mad. He would need additional float by using business cash for withdrawal. Business dipped.
Same thing with withdraw. If customer made ksh30k withdraw, bank would take ksh18K float leaving him with ksh12. Meanwhile customer would take ksh30K in cash. His business could no longer sustain this assault. Bank was relentless. He hid his vehicle, sold plot to repay.
Still, he had to borrow more money to top up customer deposits, pay equity & clear older debts. Meanwhile, interest kept growing & equity grew deaf. He was arrested on complaint of creditors X2. His rent went into arrears for a yr & shop went empty. With nowhere to turn he self-exiled.
At last, a random friend helped clear equity balance. Pacified, the bank relented. They never picked they gadgets. Meanwhile the shop closed doors 7 months ago. Rent in arrears over one year & soaking in debts. The family can’t pay fees for children, can’t buy food From exile in neighboring county, my friend hawks water & fruits to pay off debts. Nothing left for family. The wife struggles with kids & rely on well wishers.
This has been the trending story for a better part of the day on Twitter.
Just like other hot topics, it elicited emotions.
This trend will remain as long as tweets are not followed with actions, tomorrow will be another project and just like Nairobi West Hospital, Equity Bank will be forgotten and the chain continues.