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Facebook has made us judge, jury and executioner

By David Lepi 

But thank God our courts do not decide on cases based on what people have to say on social media or everyone would be found guilty and the punishments would be cruel.


Facebook has given people the unabashed confidence to voice their unfiltered and unwanted opinion. Everyone is an expert and everyone thinks that their opinion is a fact. When a story makes headlines of a crime, the comment threads are filled with people thinking that they know better than the authorities and express the punishment the suspect should receive. It's a good thing society has moved away from public stonings.

These brings to mind the infamous trial of George Stinney Jr. Stinney, a 14 year old black boy accused of murdering two little white girls became the youngest person to be executed in the US in the 20th century when he was sent to the electric chair in 1944, but more than 70 years after his death his conviction has been overturned.

Circuit Judge Carmen Mullen said the speed with which the state meted out justice against the boy was shocking and extremely unfair, and that his case was one of "great injustice" in her ruling exonerating Stinney Jr.

Today, many would express their bafflement towards such acts. If you read comments on the social media, you can see how this could happen.

This week the social media crucified Mr. Jessie Wangua. Jessie, a senior executive of a major state owned enterprise had his day in the kangaroo court mooted by the social media. 

Jessie was in custody of the police for his own protection as relatives of his deceased wife converged on him at the Paradise Private Hospital on suspicions of him killing his wife. 

As news hit the mainstream media of Jessie being taken by the police the social media immediately went frenzy with all sorts of allegations running wild - some even attempt to sustain their claim with computer enhanced graphics, images and unrelated news feeds. 

Jessie had to quietly go through the ordeal. When asked if the hot speculations would affect his job and career, he calmly replied, "the board and management of Kumul Telikom Holdings are fully aware of the unfounded allegations and had refuted all these claims." 

Friday, 30th April 2021 came the moment of relief for Jessie when the police investigations proved him innocent and cleared him from all allegations from the established facts in the post mortem and several other  investigations. 

It was also a case of the truth will set you free for Jessie. Jessie is now set to resume duties and take the usual compassionate leave to attend to the family emergency. 

Social media has taken away our empathy and left us cold and cynical. We have thrown out the old adage, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." We hide behind our keyboards, cruel cowards just waiting to hang the next person in a long line of victims.

Let us  not be so quick to judge. 

My condolences to the Wangua family. May God give you strength in this time of bereavement.


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