The Facebook pages of Mike Sonko, the former Nairobi governor and presidential candidate, and Pastor Dorcas Gachagua, the wife of Kenya’s deputy president, have been down for several hours due to cyberattacks.
Sonko’s page, which has over 1.2 million followers, was inaccessible since early morning on Thursday. His posts were either missing or replaced with messages that read “This page isn’t available right now” or “Sorry, we couldn’t find this page”.
Gachagua’s page, which has over 85,000 followers, was also unavailable since Thursday morning. Her posts were either missing or replaced with messages that read “This page isn’t available right now” or “Sorry, we couldn’t find this page”.
Both pages are unverified by Facebook and have not been updated since last week. They have not posted any new content or interacted with their followers.
The cyberattacks have sparked speculation and concern among Kenyans who use Facebook as a platform for news, entertainment and social interaction. Some users have expressed frustration over the loss of access to their favorite pages and celebrities.
Others have blamed the attacks on political rivals who want to silence or discredit them. Some have also suggested that the attacks are part of a coordinated campaign to disrupt the upcoming general elections in August 2023.
However, there is no official confirmation or explanation from either Sonko or Gachagua about the cause of the attacks. Neither has responded to requests for comment from various media outlets.
According to some reports, Sonko and Gachagua are among several public figures who have been targeted by cybercriminals in recent months. The attackers use various methods to hack into their accounts, such as phishing emails, malware downloads and fake websites.
The attackers then use their accounts to post malicious content, such as defamatory statements, propaganda messages or fake news. They also try to extort money from their followers by asking them to pay ransom or donate to certain causes.
The cyberattacks pose a serious threat to democracy and national security in Kenya. They undermine public trust in institutions and leaders, create confusion and misinformation among citizens and incite violence and hatred among different groups.