Westgate happened more than a week ago and to date, there is no grand unified theory. There are competing narratives and it is this Pot Pourri of narratives which is leaving many of us uncertain. Earlier this week, I characterised it as a BP moment. Kenya's share of voice was at a level never experienced before.
The world's media was camped on our doorstep. I found myself watching the live feed, trawling eyewitness accounts, reading the Al-Shabaab Twitter handles [Twitter knocked them down about 4 times only for it to bounce back under a different handle]. In fact, Al-Shabaab live tweeted Westgate and the Interior Cabinet Secretary's bona fides was undermined by the real time rebuttals issued by Al-Shabaab and on Twitter. The latency of the responses leads me to place the author of the Twitter handles on the scene in Westgate for as yet undetermined time. Numerous eye witness accounts put a white woman at the scene.
And a number of those acounts give this woman a leadership role. This was the catalyst for a tsunami of stories about Samantha Lewthwaite also known as the White Widow for she was the widow of 7/7 suicide bomber Germaine Lindsay. Lindsay blew himself up on a train travelling between King's Cross and Russell Square tube stations, at 8:50 a.m. He killed 26 civilians in his suicide attack.
Lewthwaite was 8 months pregnant with their second child, a daughter, at the time of his death, and their first child, a son, was 14 months old. Lewthwaite reported her husband missing six days after the bombing by telephoning a helpline set up for families of the victims. She denied prior knowledge of the attacks and said: "I totally condemn and am horrified by the atrocities. I am the wife of Germaine Lindsay, and never predicted or imagined that he was involved in such horrific activities. He was a loving husband and father.
I am trying to come to terms with the recent events. My whole world has fallen apart, and my thoughts are with the families of the victims of this incomprehensible devastation." Subsequently, she fell below the intelligence radar. In 2011, she reappeared in Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa and apparently Somalia. On Friday, Kenya requested Interpol to issue a red notice for Samantha Lewthwaite on charges of being in possession of explosives and conspiracy to commit a felony dating back to December 2011.
That's the backgrounder. Now lets jump to Westgate. As I scanned the Al-Shabaab tweets I recalled this one that @GGoodwin retweeted "Westgate: 14hr standoff relayed in 1400 rounds of bullets & 140 characters of vengeance & still ongoing. Gd morning Kenya!" Another read "Here are 2 of the Mujahideen inside #Westgate mall, unruffled and strolling around the mall in such sangfroid manner."
I kept thinking to myself 'sangfroid' is such an unusual word. It means coolness of mind; calmness; composure a kind of cold bloodedness under pressure. And therefore, I am putting Samantha Lewthwaite at the scene and I think she live-tweeted from inside Westgate for an as yet undetermined period. And I think she signalled her presence and is probably seeking some kind of recognition. The stock market incredibly retreated just 0.36% Monday and Tuesday before rallying 1.4813% Wednesday through Friday and ending the week higher than where it started. The Nairobi All Share is +32.88% this year and just 2.233% below a multi-year high set earlier this year. The shilling also rallied and closed the week at 87.00 and 0.68% stronger than the levels at the beginning of the week.
This was a very noteworthy outcome. And i think we can draw a number of conclusions. That Westgate was a known unknown. Do you remember Donald Rumsfeld's "There are known knowns (things we know we know) and there are unknown knowns (things we know we don't know) and unknown unknowns (things we do not know we do not know)? We had been warned severally. The market had priced in such an event. The market knew it would happen, it just did not know when. And it is that which explains the extraordinary resilience in Kenyan asset prices we saw last week.
Shares go up and down and readers are advised that this column represents Mr Satchu's personal opinions.