The current subject of discussion on social media in the country is the high cost of living. Consumers, motorists and commuters are feeling the devastating effects of the increased cost of fuel after the implementation of the 16% VAT on petroleum products.
This isn’t the first time Kenyans are using social media to vent after a controversial topic comes up. Unfortunately this venting only lasts a few days and they quickly move on to something else as we have seen several times before. Kenyans talk about Topic A for a about a week or two and when Topic B suddenly comes up, they end up completely forgetting about Topic A.
The exact same thing is happening after the recent rise in the cost of fuel. They have been completely absorbed in this topic and forgotten events that have been taking place recently.
1. The Demolition Of Buildings In The City
This is the most recent story to have graced the trending topics on Kenyan social media. Major buildings put up on riparian land in Nairobi were brought down and this move gave Kenyans hope that perhaps the systems were starting to work. After downing South End Mall and Ukay Centre, Kenyans thought that maybe Taj Mall, Oshwal Centre and Weston Hotel would be next. Since then, the green bulldozer “SANY” hasn’t been seen near any big building. Oshwal Centre for instance is still sitting pretty despite the Attorney General saying that the building is on riparian land.
2. Kenya Power
You might have forgotten, but Kenya Power was recently under fire for several scandals. In July, Noordin Haji ordered for the arrest of the then current and former senior managers including the MD Ken Tarus and Ben Chumo over the procurement of defective transformers and irregularities in the pre-qualification of 525 companies for labour and transport contracts. Kenyans were elated over this news but their joy was short-lived, like almost any other top officials arrested over corruption, they were released on bail.
Kenyans on Twitter led by Apollo Mboya and Blogger Cyprian Nyakundi had led a campaign dabbed #SwitchOffKPLC protesting inflated billing by the company. After the officials were arrested, it seemed like Kenyans had let the foot of the gas on this matter despite Kenya Power having buried their heads in the sand regarding how leaking transformers and expensive services were leading to high power bills.
3. The Ruaraka Land Saga
In this bizarre high profile scandal where the government bought it’s own land, the puzzle is yet to be solved. The case involves top government officials including Mr Fred Matiang’i, Muhammad Swazuri and Belio Kipsang. After countless twists and turns, the case is still in court with Chief Justice Maraga yet to name judges to determine whether the controversial piece of land is public or private.
4. The NYS Scandals
The National Youth Service is not new to scandals. In 2015, Ksh. 791 million disappeared under the then Devolution Cabinet Secretary Ms. Anne Waiguru who is now serving her term as Kirinyaga County governor — a clear picture of how Kenyans love rewarding mediocrity and dishonesty from public officials. Back then, Kenyans made a lot of noise on the matter but due to the lack of a proper follow up, the scandal died like it never happened and numerous court cases are still in progress.
This year, NYS was in the news again after the disappearance of close to 10 million. The money was siphoned from the institution through a well orchestrated scheme that involved top government officials including Permanent Secretary Lillian Omollo and Director General Richard Ndubai. They were later released on bail and after several adjournments of the trial, it is now set to be heard early next year. Arresting these suspects for just a few hours and then releasing them on bail later hasn’t been a very good tactic in the current fight against graft.
5. Kenya Pipeline
Kenya Pipeline is another institution not new to scandals. Just weeks after a 95 billion scandal at the public firm it has recently emerged that KPC agreed to pay a contractor Ksh. 4.4 Billion for operational delays in the building of a new pipeline from Nairobi to Mombasa.
Other events that have seemingly been forgotten include the Afya House Scandal, Theft at NCPB, Fake mobile clinics, Governors with fake qualifications and the fact that Nairobi County has no Deputy Governor since Polycarp Igathe quit in the beginning of this year.
All these are just examples of some of the scandals that have slowly died down despite having received heavy pressure from social media. Lack of proper follow up means that things only trend for approximately a week and a half before something new pops up and they immediately become a thing of the past.
Bloggers like Cyprian Nyakundi who did a lot following up on these stories and ensured they didn’t fizzle out have unfortunately become victims of censorship by some of these online platforms leaving a huge gap unfilled.
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