How Nairobi Lawyer Triggered Age Old Debate On Kenyan Interns

The seemingly surprised advocate was critical of the actions of the intern who opted to use the cab instead of walking to her destination

How Nairobi Lawyer Triggered Age Old Debate On Kenyan Interns
Kenyans lining up outside an office. /BUSINESS DAILY

A Nairobi-based lawyer, Nkatha Mugambi, unknowingly restarted a long-standing debate on the welfare of interns in Kenya after her tweet shaming an intern for using a taxi within the Nairobi Central Business District (CBD) went viral.

Mugambi, who goes by the moniker CallMeNkatha on Twitter, issued a statement on Tuesday, October 11 slamming the intern for using a taxi-hailing app to deliver documents within the city centre.

The seemingly surprised advocate was critical of the actions of the intern who opted to use the cab instead of walking to her destination, with the idea that it is a walking distance to get between points in the CBD.

Screenshot of Nkatha's tweet criticising an intern for using an Uber in the Nairobi CBD. /TWITTER

“We sent our office intern/pupil to serve some documents to our corporate client within the town and she opted to use an Uber. AN UBER GUYS.” Nkatha posted.

However, she did not get the reaction she was hoping for as Kenyans On Twitter (KOT), known for their fearless stance against anyone on Earth, strongly criticised her actions as related to the toxic nature of workplaces, especially amongst those on internships.

“Imagine walking from Anniversary towers to KRA because it’s “within town”. Lol! If the distance is more than 100m she has every right to take an Uber.” sports journalist Eric Njiru responded.

“An “intern” used an Uber to deliver “company documents” & a whole human came to scream on Twitter? I think it is pathetic to treat interns as people who can work without pay & don’t deserve fare to do your work," another user commented.

Others believed that Mugambi's tweet had masked the fact that the intern could have been sent with bulky or sensitive documents within a limited amount of time, given the nature of the legal profession which includes the Supreme Court of Kenya.

Other users believed that the advocate could have sent a messenger to deliver the documents instead of the intern, which would have effectively saved time, and possibly money.

“What your favourite Twitter advocate failed to mention is that: the pupil walked from the firm to the place of service, she was carrying a bundle of documents to serve and had to pick more, and she was rushing back to the office to finish submissions that were due by close of business,” Wairimu Njuguna weighed in, further disclosing that it was 3 pm and the female intern still had to go and finish the submissions, adding that the Uber had cost only Ksh290.

She added that the lady intern was caught off-guard on noticing the tweets, terming Mugambi's actions uncalled for.

By the time of publication, Nkatha's name was mentioned over 17,100 times on Twitter, a move which could have forced her to later pull down her statement and privatize her account.

According to her LinkedIn, Nkatha works as an associate advocate at a local law firm which was discovered as a Google business, with Kenyans leaving negative reviews. She has worked there since January 2015.

She is also a court-accredited mediator at the

A man and woman working in an office. /FILE

The National Employment Authority Act describes an employee as a person employed for wages, including an apprentice, intern and indentured learner.

For interns in the public sector, according to the Internship Policy and Guidelines for the Public Service May 2016, interns should get a stipend. However, the Act does not clearly define the remuneration for interns in private companies.

Article 2.6 reads, “Internship shall be non-remunerative. However, interns will be paid a stipend as may be determined by the Commission from time to time. MDAs will be expected to make budgetary allocations for the stipend on an annual basis.”