How a campaigner holds the powerful to account | #speakup barometer | Kenya | DW | 10.01.2019
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#speakup barometer | Kenya

How a campaigner holds the powerful to account

Thomas knows that talk is cheap. That’s why he started tracking local politicians’ promises online. Now he’s able to remind them — and voters — of those promises, should they fail to deliver.

#speakup barometer Kenya

Thomas Angira records statements by politicians and uses social media to hold them accountable

Thomas Angira lives in Uyoma village in Siaya County. He uses the Internet to hold local politicians accountable to the community they serve. In particular, he relies on Facebook and WhatsApp to take representatives to task over unfulfilled promises or to shine a light on contractors who fail to carry out work to a high standard.

I realized that most of our political leaders make promises during campaigns, but don’t fulfill these promises after they are elected. This pushed me to start recording what they say and use it to remind them of the unfulfilled promises, when they made the promise, where they made it, and to whom. I also use social media to raise the alarm over corruption in my locality and to hold accountable contractors who do shoddy jobs on infrastructure projects. We’ve seen so many roads and bridges being re-done by the same contractor, or else the contracts have been cancelled and awarded to other serious contractors. The challenge is that sometimes the contractors or politicians have their supporters or sympathizers who will support them even if they make mistakes. Because of the trust that I have built up, however, I can get more support than they do, and this prompts the authorities to act accordingly.