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Accused Ushahidi executive was once accused of online harassment more than ten years ago

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Old and forgotten Internet archives from Mashada, a web forum run by David Kobia, an Ushahidi co-founder and board member show what could have been a bitter exchange between an unamed Kenyan female blogger and the accused executive accusing him of indecent advances.

The lady insisted that she didn’t want the then top blogger to contact her anymore as his choice of discussion topics was not favourable not to mention indecent. It’s said that the executive couldn’t stop talking about sex, and pestered her about what she was wearing, what she went to bed in, and all those other questions that people who love to talk about sex come up with on the phone.

However, in a series of blog posts, the accused denied the allegations and was equally shocked at them because he had never met the person.

“In fact when I read the allegations I was shocked like many of you were. I wanted to get to the bottom of it. I was one of the first people to leave a comment on the blog and I attempted to contact the blogger to find out what was going on. It was only later on the following afternoon that they informed me that the allegation was being made at me. It is hard to describe what I felt at that time. It was a mixture of disbelief and shock which was slowly turning to anger.

The very idea that someone who I have never met, who I do not interact with as much as I do with other bloggers, a blogger whose name I do not even know, could come out and say this almost knocked me off my feet.

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Without taking any sides, the board would have moved fast to listen to both parties, and using the 2006 allegations and the said audio recording verify the authenticity of the claims to issue a suitable disciplinary action. It’s both criminal and inhuman for the lady to lie about the senior executive.

However, there are claims that the women who came forward were threatened and warned against ruining the local tech ecosystem and the accusations, if public, would probably lead to the loss of over 80 jobs and make it harder for some local firms to fundraise. There are also reports that the board barred other women from coming forward because they are still employees of the firm and had not filed formal complaints earlier. People close to the matter claim the firm has no proper HR department where such matters can be reported to. These are just reports but TechMoran will publish the list of distressed women in due time.

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However, Ushahidi board is scheduled to issue a statement about these and what it’s been doing to help address these claims which first came to light in 2015.

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