In February 2015, Kenya was ranked the third most corrupt country in the world. That was according to a survey on prevalence of economic crimes released in Nairobi by audit firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
The audit firm found that Kenya beat the rest of the world in economic crimes such as embezzlement, bribery and procurement fraud.
The average urban Kenyan has to pay 16 bribes a month to get his regular affairs arranged.
Young people in Kenya are much like their counterparts around the globe: digital and social media are an integral part of their lives, giving them a way to communicate, connect and learn on their own terms.
The extensive use of social media is arguably the single biggest factor in the success of the anti-corruption movement for any country.
Kenya for example has a large, active citizenry, an opposition ready to pounce on incumbents’ shortcomings, a 24/7 media in need of fresh stories, and corruption in public service a deviation from the norm rather than the norm, some combination of pride, concern about reputation, and fear of electoral retribution. All these may be enough to prompt action when corruption is exposed.
If you look at the demographics, you’ll find that more and more young people are online yet they are the most forgotten victims of corruption, left without an opportunity to voice their concerns, to help make positive changes, or to enhance their skills and become active citizens for a better future.
Continuously updated posts, statuses and tweets convey opinions on topics ranging from stock markets to politics, forming an alternative information source for the world to systematically detect, track, and fight corruption.
Youth are using their digital skills to inform and inspire. They monitor the quality of public services with interactive tools, make official data available online and mobilize their peers through messages on Facebook and Twitter.
I really loved the idea of the website site www.ipaidabribe.com that helps citizens of Bangalore to file an online report if they were asked for a bribe, stating where the demander worked, the amount demanded, and whether they had paid or not.
The theory behind sites like “I Paid a Bribe” is that once authorities know how much corruption there is in an agency, and know that citizens know they know, they will be compelled to act.
As Kenyan citizens, We can use pictures, videos and virtual leaflets to inform the public, organize protests and find volunteers to run an anti-corruption campaign. Kenyans use Facebook a lot and social networks can help to mobilize people that wouldn’t otherwise take interest in issues of corruption.
The internet can also be used to increase transparency. For example, the Kenyan government, through the county governments can publicly provide information on budget allocations and other relevant details about public projects on the respective websites. It may also allow anonymous reporting by beneficiaries on satisfactory meeting of standards and/ or irregularities. Such an initiative will increase public scrutiny and reduce the scope of discretion and misappropriation of public funds.
A very powerful mechanism through which the internet has been found to reduce corruption is the electronic-governance initiative. The use of e-governance eliminates the need for direct interaction between the corrupt official and the citizen by providing online services and thus, reducing the scope of a bribe demand and administrative corruption.