NAIROBI, (Xinhua) --
Kenyan politicians, cabinet secretaries and other
government officials have turned to social media to promote
their work, in particular development projects, as the influence
of the online sites grow in the East African nation.
The politicians and
government officials are blowing their own trumpets on Facebook,
Twitter and YouTube by posting photos and videos of the events
they attend, the bursaries they give, the classrooms they are
constructing, the roads they repair, relief food they are
donating and whom they are meeting.
It is a new trend
that has been entrenched in a country where being in the
limelight, especially by being seen that one is serving the
public, earns a huge mileage.
Leading from the
front to showcase their work on social media is President Uhuru
Kenyatta, followed by dozens of cabinet secretaries, governors
and legislators both from the ruling coalition Jubilee and the
opposition National Super Alliance.
“I received the FIFA
World Cup trophy which is on a global tour ahead of the this
year’s tournament in Russia,” a message on Kenyatta’s Twitter
and Facebook pages read on Monday, accompanied with colorful
Two days earlier,
the president had posted on his social media pages, “Together
with President @kagutamuseveni of Uganda when we commissioned
the Busia one-stop border point. The infrastructure project will
ease the movement of people and goods across our two countries
for the prosperity of our people.”
the message to his 3 million followers on Twitter and millions
of others on Facebook.
Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed and Tourism Cabinet Secretary
Najib Balala are also using social media to showcase work, or
market the nation’s tourism.
Ken Okoth, an
opposition MP from Kibra, is among those who have used social
media effectively to popularize themselves and their projects.
Having constructed a
modern school in his constituency that is largely a slum in
Nairobi, Okoth posted photos of the modern complex.
But it is all not
rosy for the government officials and legislators as some have
received a backlash from their posting. Last week, Tharaka-Nithi
Senator Kithure Kindiki was criticized widely on social media
after posting photos of himself helping to construct a
mud-walled classroom after arriving at the event in a chopper.
Bernard Mwaso, a
consultant with Edell IT Solution, noted that social media has
become key in publicizing events and happenings and enables
leaders to communicate directly to the public without going
through mainstream media.
“It is a fast way to
read the public mood about what happened as it offers an
immediate feedback. I am sure the legislator who helped
construct a mud-wall classroom after arriving in a chopper would
never do it again,” he said.
The 2017 State of
the Internet in Kenya 2017 report released by the Bloggers
Association of Kenya last week showed that some 12 million
Kenyans were on active on WhatsApp, 7.1 million on Facebook.
Instagram has 4 million users while Twitter some 1.5 million
According to the
Communication Authority, some 30 million Kenyans are internet
users, with the number rising over the years thanks to smart
phones, where they also access social media.