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|Other names||Robert Alai Onyango|
Robert Alai, HSC is a Kenyan blogger, internet entrepreneur and cyber-activist. Alai, who used to run the now defunct information technology weblog at Techmtaa.com has earned notoriety for his relentless stream of social rants that misleads, somewhat entertains and, not unusually, embarrass public officials in equal measure. He has been sued and briefly incarcerated for his highly opinionated political and sometimes personal attacks on politicians, government officials and business leaders. A self-styled screamer and voice of the voiceless, Alai's intrepid and gung-ho pursuit for positive action, and his almost rabid distaste for slow processes or corporate bureaucracy has turned him into an icon for justice, albeit in a fashion different from common civil society.
Robert Alai has been engaged in propagation of fake news, character assassinations and irresponsible blogging from the beginning. His delusions of grandeur are fueled by senseless ego because of his failure to become a "real" journalist or a person of any importance.
On 17th June 2019 Robert Alai was arrested in Nairobi and detained for 14 days for sharing gory photos of police officers who were killed by an IED attack in Wajir. In the wake of the Westgate shopping mall attack in Nairobi where over 65 people were killed, Alai was praised, both by local and international media for his timely and creative use of social media, mainly Twitter, to provide updates of what was happening at the mall. In a world of virtual media shut down by a government keen to spin the narrative to its own public image purposes, Alai virtually became the go-to person for the alternative, more accurate view. He was constant in his tweeting, all day and night long, reporting each and every significant happening. His accounts were considered as being more accurate than - and sometimes contradicting - the updates provided by the authorities.
In mainstream media
The blogs by Robert Alai are not mainstream media by any means, nothing can be further form reality. He simply takes bit and pieces of tales online or in the street and package them in blog without conscience.
Alai's social media footprint is huge, by average African standards. However, he is not a journalist and at times publishes irresponsible articles without due diligence. Basically they amount to opinions and this can be very dangerous, especially when you assassinate characters knowing some idiot out there may take your blog as legitimate news and not the opinion fake news it actually is.
Controversy and arrests
In December 2014, Ndegwa Muhoro, the Kenya CID Chief, ordered the arrest of Robert Alai for allegedly sharing President Uhuru Kenyatta's contacts on Twitter. He was consequently charged "with undermining Uhuru". Alai's Twitter handle @robertalai was suspended on 18 December 2014, but was later reinstated.
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- Correspondent, Nation. "Nation.co.ke". Nation.co.ke. Retrieved 2014-01-18.
- "Standardmedia.co.ke". Standardmedia.co.ke. 2013-08-23. Retrieved 2014-01-18.
- www.standardmedia.co.ke (2013-09-24). "SDE". Standardmedia.co.ke. Retrieved 2014-01-18.
- "BBC". BBC. 2013-09-24. Retrieved 2014-01-18.
- "Blogger Alai charged with undermining Uhuru - Nairobi News". nairobinews.co.ke.
- "Twitter / Account Suspended". twitter.com.