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Social media becomes Kenya’s new watchdog

Posted by Administrator on January 27, 2012

Kenya has a police force whose officials are renowned for their large bellies and a predisposition towards getting a buck or two under the table in return for a “get out of jail free” card.

Though steps have been taken to reform the police force, corruption remains high (a website called “I Paid a Bribe” has just been founded because of this) and there just is not enough effective policing to curb many of the problems that Kenyan citizens faces every day.

This inefficiency gap is nevertheless starting to get filled: by social media.

Recently, hundreds of Kenyans have used the hash-tag #twitterbigstick to voice their frustrations over a range of issue from bad driving and perceived injustices to poor services. When dealing with traffic related “offences” Twitter has been given a watchdog role; “tweeps” (Twitter users) name and shame those who choose to act outside of traffic regulations, recording number plates and taking photographs of the offenders.

Primarily driven by Sunny Bindra (@sunnysunwords), a renowned management consultant, writer and educator, the hash-tag has managed to elicit responses from a variety of big companies including Kenya Power and Kenya Railways.

Mr Bindra has managed to translate the messages from his book on customer care into action as organisations are forced to become efficient. The sheer volume of “tweeps” who get involved means that the companies have no choice but to respond to complaints and comments by users.



Kenya has a highly active civil society who are also very active on social media sites: just this week anew report placed Kenyans as the second top users of Twitter in Africa. The variety of users is astounding; corporations, politicians, musicians and everyone else has jumped onto the bandwagon.



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