An angry President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday defended the heavily criticized government decision to send more than 300 bouquets of flowers to the UK to show solidarity with health workers in the wake of Covid-19.
Speaking at State House on Friday to mark this year’s Labour Day, Uhuru lashed out at netizens who have openly expressed their displeasure over the move on social media.
The President further said that the move to ship the flowers to Europe was meant to protect the country’s flower sector, and send a message of the country’s intention to do business once the pandemic is over.
“When we sent the flowers, I laughed when I saw a section of Kenyans calling us names. Our only intention was to show the world our product and when the coronavirus pandemic dust settles we can do business. Think before you start talking nonsense on this social media of yours. This is not the time for us to be petty. This is the time that we should come together and plan the future of our great land,” he angrily explained.
"Think before you talk nonsense on social media!" ~ Uhuru pic.twitter.com/9xKfyO2rya
— Mac Otani 🇰🇪 (@MacOtani) May 1, 2020
Firing back at Uhuru, social media users who accused him of ignoring the welfare of local medics while impressing colonial masters, told him there is no reason to get worked up over simple, genuine criticism.
Some reminded him that there exists freedom of speech in the country and that all views, even those contrary to our leaders, also deserve to be heard.
No need for the President to be emotional about. Whoever wrote that was just informing Kenyans. Unless there is hidden agenda, otherwise don’t catch feelings for nonsense Mr. President.
— Rende Ya Makali (@mcklaizer) May 1, 2020
We will continue to put your administration on toes Mr Kenyatta since the people who surround u are eating nyama chom’ instead of helping the common mwananch..u are doing nothing in fighting this covid 19 which has paralysed everything in kenya
— firstname.lastname@example.org (@titusmwangi056) May 1, 2020
After quitting on social media and especially this street,it seems the president is using a pseudo account or he is using the statehouse handle.
This social media got into his nerves. 😂😂😂
— MUTUA LOYD (@LOYDMUTUA) May 1, 2020
Ukikasirika na social media utachoka tu, it will not stop just cos you tell them to. Deal with it and just do you job it is free speech
— Kirima Nturibi (@K_mountainous) May 1, 2020
Freedom of speech on social media…can’t get pissed at what people write on social media…akunywe Jameson atulie…
— RustyCase™ (@Rustycase) May 1, 2020
Petty like the Cambridge Analytica he used to manipulate voters? He is being eaten by the monster he fed
— #Integrity #TeamForward (@N_Kinyanjui) May 1, 2020
Uhuru’s bitter-sweet relationship with Kenyans on social media is one that can be traced to a few years back.
In early 2019, the head of state seemed to have had enough of the online community and deactivated all his social media accounts, delinking himself with his 3.62 million followers on his @UKenyatta Twitter account and millions more on his Uhuru Kenyatta Facebook page.
Speaking to local media in May the same year, State House Spokesperson and former TV girl Kanze Dena revealed how President Uhuru Kenyatta was bullied out of social media following a flurry of not so positive comments from the millions of his followers.
At the time, State House Chief of Staff Nzoika Waita also indicated, via his Twitter page, that the President had pulled down his accounts owing to ‘unauthorized access’.
Both State House staff gave little indication as to whether President Kenyatta will be rescinding this decision in the near future.