Popular tweeting Chief Kariuki dies in Nakuru

Popular tweeting Chief Kariuki dies in Nakuru

One of the most popular local administrators in Kenya Chief Francis Kariuki is dead.

Chief Kariuki died on Wednesday afternoon while undergoing treatment at the Nakuru Level Five Hospital after falling sick the previous evening.

Nakuru County Commissioner Erastus Mbui confirmed that an autopsy will be conducted on Thursday with the burial slated for Saturday.

Chief Kariuki from Lanet Umoja, Nakuru North District has been one of the most active and beloved government officials and was recognised globally for his efforts.

He has been active online since 2011 when he joined Twitter and would actively use the platform to communicate with the residents and the rest of the world.

To many, Chief Kariuki only tweeted about lost animals, inspirational quotes and cases of insecurity in his area.

However to area residents he offered a major service that often helped save lives.

Majority of them would subscribe to receive his tweets through a free text messaging service.

In 2018, the inspirational administrator sent out a tweet to his near 60,000 followers saying: “Kwa kihanda nyumbani kuna moto kubwa sana majirani saidieni tafadhali. Pale karibu Umoja 2” (There’s a big fire at Kihanda’s home, neighbours please help. It’s at Umoja 2.)

The residents received the message, rushed to the homestead and helped put out the fire and save the family.

The tweet received a few retweets on the platform but the SMS service proved to be the lifesaver.

A member of the family by the name Njoki tweeted her thanks to the chief and everyone who helped her kin.

“This tweet saved my family. We are all safe and I can’t believe how everyone came out to help. Thank you so much for your big hearts. I have no words. Thank you.”

And in 2012 his alerts helped save a family from thugs.

Kuna wezi kwa baba Kelven saa hii pale Tuinuane.wako sitting room. tafadhalini tusaidiane,” he tweeted. (There are thieves at Kelven’s father’s home at Tuinuane, they are in the sitting room, let us help.”

His message was received and neighbours rushed to the homestead and the commotion got the attackers to scurry away.

“Every time we have barazas (meetings) twice a month, I make attendees subscribe to my tweets using their regular SMS or text messaging services,” Kariuki said by phone during an interview with CNN. “It has not only saved on the cost of fliers, it has also allowed us to save trees and contribute to green efforts.”

“They just don’t register as followers because they don’t have Twitter accounts,” he said. “A lot of people in town get the text tweets, even the thieves and police.”