Nyeri Civic Hack is an Embarrassment to Nyeri Tech Community.
Onset of November last year would mark a memorable moment in Nyeri as it hosted first Civic hacker event in Mt Kenya region [and perhaps Sub-saharan Africa, although as one twitter user pointed out, this remains a subject of debate]. The price tag on the event winners set at 100k [would later find out the amount was actually 50k, the other half would be split between first and second runners up in a 3:2 ratio] Math enough. The deal still looked attractive and in the spirit of hacking, worth giving a shot. However, one chap in our camp remained adamant about making a move. He would later give in and oblige to go [wasn't an easy task convincing the poor soul]. His fears would later come to pass.
The hackathon kicked off Friday 31st October at around 8 p.m. Given our diverse background in software development, we decided to go in two groups. One would work on a health related application and the other on a job listings tool. Notable absence during the official opening was the event's point-man, Nyeri Governor. The Country's minister in IT docket took his place and did a good job in convincing the participants how noble the 48-hour undertaking was. Then in came a strong promise, besides the cash price that was up for grabs, at least two members from the winning team would land themselves a job at high flying IT firm, Seven-Seas. I was quick to pat my buddy after giving him that si nilikuambia look. However, I noted the absence of any representatives from the said IT firm but brushed it off as one of those kawaida things.
The event went down pretty well, lots of good music [not just music], drinks, food and fun activities including one of my favorites “Who's smatter now”. Slow Internet marred the course that had Airtel as one of the partners [you might want reconsider next time you plan to include them in your gig]. 48 hours later, amidst total anxiety, Quick Health was declared the winning team. I was already in a deep slumber having deprived my body sleep for two nights. I took a gamble, opened my eyes then saw my other two members already up, hugging. Adrenaline rush happened and in a quick move involuntarily woke up to dance to the winning tune. The deputy Governor sealed the deal by handing us a symbolic cheque. A symbol of our win.
Fast forward into 2015, no one has the slightest clue of what really happened save for the 3 top participating groups. None of my friends believe what I made of my share from the 50k. Perhaps some think I threw a 'private' party that had them snubbed. Or went to Coasto for a short vacation, after all I always laid low so no one could suspect. Or perhaps I had grown wise, made an investment and was now waiting for my fruits to be borne. Wrong. Picture this, a close childhood friend we hadn't talked for a while calls me one morning. He takes his time to congratulate me. Asking him why, he says of how he landed on our story on one of the local dailies stating we had won 100k [note the amount] and landed ourselves jobs with Seven Seas. I would later dig up the story and the courier happened to be People Daily, irresponsible journalism. You wouldn't blame them though.
The symbolic cheque is what remained of the event. Picture of young souls celebrating a victory that was never to be. Promises of having the top 3 participants being incubated so as to push those dreams to realities was the last nail in the coffin. Civic hack's top brass remains mum. Not a single word. According to them, all things went as planned. Perhaps they bagged something, maybe.
So this one day Jonny asks me to shikaa him a drink because I won something ‘serious’ and I decide to vent my anger. Not at Nyeri civic hacker movement but at its leadership. In words of Green Arrow, ‘You have failed this County’. The adamant friend was right after all. Somebody better take charge.