NAIROBI, Kenya, May 17 – One minute you are friends next you are foes and such is life.
For many people, it is never easy to accept and move on; after a relationship is over they tend to vent out in a way that may eventually hurt their partners.
But then, there are those who just want to blackmail, coerce or manipulate someone and usually take maximum advantage of anything that they have at hand that can ‘harm’ them.
They do all this in the name of revenge.
Detectives in Kenya say they receive “so many complaints” reported to the Cybercrime Unit and no one is spared by the wrath of cyber bullying, despite your social status.
People seeking political positions often fall victim to cyber bullying, where sensitive pictures or videos are shared on social media just a few days to voting, a well-calculated move by the culprits to ‘steal’ their support.
During the Jubilee Party primaries, video footage, allegedly of one of the Woman Representative aspirants went viral, attracting mixed reactions from city residents.
Though nothing disparaging is seen in the video, a curvy woman is seen wearing a short dress while in the kitchen preparing food.
The motive of sharing the video according to police was to paint her in a bad light among “sensitive voters – moral adherents.”
In Rwanda, one of the presidential aspirants Diane Shima is also a victim.
Someone leaked her nude photos, where she is seen striking poses.
As established by Capital FM News, there are hundreds of online platforms where people are permitted to post nude pictures in the name of exposing their ‘evil’ partners or revenging after a heartbreak experience.
There are tens of Telegram groups whose main business is just that.
Hundreds of people have fallen victim after their pictures or videos were shared on such platforms, which eventually leak across other online platforms.
Other people do it for fun and more so sex pets who get irked after they are turned away by their target ‘prey’.
Beatrice (not her real name) is worried that her image will be soiled if naked pictures she had sent to a friend are leaked.
The friend has been blackmailing her with all manner of demands and he continues to have an upper hand even after she has met all of them.
“Now he wants me to give him a list of all the boyfriends I have ever had,” a traumatised Beatrice told Capital FM News.
“I innocently shared my photos with him because I trusted him …I thought he was mature.”
Her story is no different from thousands of others in the country, who are living with the fear of the unknown.
In such groups, people not only share videos and pictures of their targets but also screenshots their conversations and contacts.
Their purpose is to kill the inner soul of their target by humiliating, threatening and harassing them.
Rose (Not her real name) was exposed by her boyfriend of three years after a quarrel.
“It killed my personality completely…he shared everything. I don’t see my body the same way after the traumatising experience. I received calls from my relatives, colleagues at work who all wondered what was wrong with me,” she says.
“I still regret to date sending my pictures to him…I didn’t have his photos, that is why he did it.”
Capital FM News sought to know whether victims of such attacks report to the police or they just ‘die’ in silence after being humiliated.
Head of the Serious Crime Unit John Kariuki says there is the need for tougher legal measures to be put in place for the menace to be eliminated.
He laments that currently the investigation unit does not have any legal backing to pursue culprits and instead victims are referred to file civil suits.
“The law enforcement agencies have been using the Communications Act to deal with the cyber related cases but the section we used to use against those who are misusing social media was outlawed by one of the High Court judges leaving us in a precarious situation.”
“All the time, we are referring people to take civil remedy in court with their advocate until a Cyber Crime Act to deal with such offences is enacted. Another Judge found the defamation section in the penal code unconstitutional leaving us with nothing to deal with such cases.”
He, however, says the Computer Cyber Crime Bill, if passed into law, will empower detectives to deal with all forms of cybercrime.