Victim in Ushahidi’s sexual harassment scandal speaks out

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There has been a storm brewing at Ushahidi and yesterday, the pot finally boiled over. News of the sexual harassment claims became public earlier this month but they were mostly speculative, with no hard evidence on who the victim or the abuser was. This all changed when Angela Kabari came forward as the victim in a long and damning post on Medium.

She named Daudi Were, an executive director at Ushahidi as the man responsible for sexually harrassing her. In the post, Angela gives transcripts of an audio recording in which Daudi asks that she sleeps with a colleague for what she  presumed was for Daudi’s titillation. In her statement, the incident, which happened at the Ushahidi team retreat at Aberdares Country Club was not the first time Daudi had asked her into his room in the middle of the night. A similar incident had also occured in Ghana.

Angela faults the board for its failure to objectively investigate and act on the sexual harassment claims. She reported the incident on 4th May 2017 and 74 days later, not much has been done. Some members of the board were also aware of Daudi’s predatory ways, which date back to the early 2000s. Despite having background knowledge that this man was a known sex pest, the board has acted in what can only be described as a serious case of inertia.

Angela goes on to state that no member of the board tried to find out about her well-being after she resigned. She further writes that she has been victim shamed and accused of blowing the matter out of proportion by going public. Her accusations of being slandered by Daudi Were have been undermined and dismissed as being irrelevant as they happened after the inquiry began.

The culture of silence is what perpetuates cases like these. It’s only after Angela’s decision to come out and speak about it that more women (over eleven verified stories) have come out and said that they too have suffered in the hands of Daudi Were. Who knows how many more victims are out there, and how many abusers continue to hurt those they lead because they know they’ll never get caught. It’s disheartening to see that despite the damning evidence against him, the only consequence is that Daudi has been suspended from his job.

A lot has been said about this case at Ushahidi, but very little listening is going on. It was expected that Ushahidi would’ve acted promptly on this matter, given their strict policy on sexual harrassment as outlined in a statement on their website. Ushahidi has done great things since it began in 2008 as a crisis mapping platform. So it’s appalling that a company which champions for justice can fall so short at doing the right thing when it comes to dealing with their internal affairs.

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