Senator Cherargei wants Senate to intervene over denied access to X account

Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei has ignited a war with social media platform X, formerly Twitter, for allegedly denying him access to his account.

The lawmaker now wants the Senate to investigate the platform’s management as he threatens to take legal action.

Mr Cherargei is accusing X of infringing on his ability to serve Kenyans as well as malicious actions that violate his freedom.

Raising the issue in the Senate, he alleged that X denied him access to his verified account since November, 2023 with several attempts to reach the firm to recover his account proving futile.

The vocal senator said he had 329,700 followers at the time he was denied access to his account.

The Nation’s spot check

A check by the Nation revealed that the last post by the senator was on November 16, 2023 when he sent his condolences to the family and friends of the late Apostle Dr Joe kayo, the former spiritual leader and founder of the Deliverance Church of Kenya.

He argued that the account serves as an important channel of engagement between himself and the public, saying the move to deny him access to the platform “violate my freedom of speech and set a dangerous precedent.”

“I believe X Corporation’s, formerly Twitter, actions warrant an investigation by the Kenyan Government and this Parliament and require diplomatic engagement with the American government,” said Mr Cherargei on the floor of the Senate.

“Despite repeated emails and a formal demand letter, the X-corporation has remained unresponsive. This silence equates to the muzzling of an important channel,” he added.

Already, Cherargei has written to X Corporation, through lawyer Ian Mbotela threatening legal action.

In the demand letter addressed to X Corp Chief Executive Officer Linda Yaccaniro and Head of Legal Julian Moore, the MP is demanding immediate restoration of his access rights.

“Take notice, the undersigned herein is under strict instructions to use our partners to file a civil claim in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California and seek for an award of damages,” the letter dated February 8, 2024, states in part.

“Through a Coordinated social engineering attack, on or about 19th November 2023, circa 11 am, my client was forcefully logged out from your platform “X” rendering the “@scherargei” impervious to him,” the letter adds.

Senator Cherargei said he has been compliant to “Xcorps” internal complaints mechanism, terms of service and the privacy policy.

That notwithstanding, however, he claimed that Xcorp has continued to be negligent and discriminate towards him.

“My client is a verified user and more so is subscribed to the Twitter Blue Service. This means that my client has met Xcorp’s requirements to be rendered a verified user. Xcorp has been deducting fees for services not rendered,” said lawyer Mbotela in the letter.

At the same time, Mr Cherargei is now demanding a detailed report from ICT Cabinet Secretary Eliud Owalo on existing mechanisms of government action and recourse for Kenyans facing similar prejudice.

The senator has also asked CS Owalo to initiate formal communication with the X Corporation, outlining the violation of Kenyan law and expressing strong condemnation of the action and discriminatory implications.

The legislator further wants Mr Owalo to explore diplomatic channels with the American government and emphasise the need for multinational tech companies to operate “ethically and responsibly”.

“If a sitting senator can experience this, it raises questions about how Kenyan citizens and African citizens would be treated in similar circumstances. We cannot allow multinational corporations to operate with impunity,” he said.

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