Kenyans don't go to the polls until Aug. 8, but election fever is already gripping the country. On Twitter, one trending hashtag is #NotWithMyVote, which people are adding to tweets about their political hopes and fears.
Corruption has been a central theme in these tweets, and many Kenyans, arguing that corruption is holding back the nation's development, are now calling for the ouster of incumbent politicians.
Twitter users have reason to be angry; according to a 2016 survey by PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Kenya is the third most corrupt country in the world.
Derrick Mecha used the hashtag to criticize Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta:
#NotWithMyVote should i vote for leaders who DAB????? I rather chew it??
— IG:Derrick97_Derro♔♚ (@derrickmecha) February 24, 2017
Mecha was referring to a controversial campaign by the president to motivate young people to register to vote, #UhuruDabChallenge. As part of the promotion effort, Kenyatta recorded a video of dab moves at the State House with a popular local dance group called FBI.
Tyson Wakhanu also stated his reasons for refusing to support the government:
I won't endorse govt that hates professionals;jails doctors, deny teachers & lecturers pay only to loot. at least #NotWithMyVote
— Tyson Wakhanu (@tysonwakson) February 24, 2017
A national strike by doctors and lecturers is also influencing voters. Earlier this month, a court ruled that members of the Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists and Dentists Union, a union body that governs all Kenyan doctors, should be jailed over the strike.
Clementine Osodo advised voters not to accept bribes:
— Clementine Osodo (@tinaosodo10) February 24, 2017
Brenda Chebet made the following observation about voter bribery:
— Brenda Chebet (@BrendahRonoh) February 24, 2017
The Center for Multiparty Democracy, CDM-Kenya, said a failure in the country's leadership is a major reason for voter bribery:
— CMD-Kenya (@CMDKenya) February 24, 2017
But “Bwana Mdogo” thought voters should punish corrupt politicians by taking their money without voting for them:
— Bwana Mdogo (@BwanaMdogo1) February 24, 2017
Edwin Ogutu echoed a similar sentiment:
Due to my current unemployed state,I'll take all the money dished out. Come election day I'll vote u out wth a broad smile.#NotWithMyVote
— Edwin Otieno Ogutu (@McOgutu_Taller) February 24, 2017
According to a report by Interthoughts Consulting, commissioned by the Center for Multiparty Democracy in partnership with Germany's Konrad Adenauer Foundation, a majority of Kenyans would vote for any politician who gives them money. The study also found that politicians recoup the money spent bribing voters by stealing from the government, once in office.
Shallom identified tribalism and corruption as the main problems in Kenya's electoral politics:
Most Kenyans are won on tribal basis. Majority of the rest won by bribe. They give you 200 knowing there is 200M to be stoln#NotWithMyVote
— Shallom (@shallomron) February 24, 2017
Rose Mute says she will protect the the country by praying and voting:
Will i stand by watch while my country is thrown into chaos by selfish leadership #NotWithMyVote I will pray and vote for good leadership .
— Rose Mute (@RoseMute1) February 24, 2017
Ahmed Mohamed says he wants a government that listens to him:
#NotWithMyVote if the doctors wont be heard..why vote for a govt that doesnt listen in the first place..imma boycott this election
— ahmed amin mohamed (@ahmadam09301749) February 24, 2017
“Shadow Walker” castigated unsympathetic leaders:
#NotWithMyVote will I allow leaders who sit back and watch as Kenyans starve while they run around in search of votes.
— Shadow Walker (@brian_mutoro) February 24, 2017
Arap Kobilo endorsed a “better the devil you know” attitude, arguing that President Kenyatta and his vice president, William Ruto, represent a safer bet than the election's four opposition leaders, Raila Odinga, Musalia Mudavadi, Kalonzo Musyoka, and Moses Wentang'ula, who have formed the National Super Alliance to challenge the president's ruling coalition.
Better 2 thieves than 4 greedy of power #NotWithMyVote
— Arap Kobilo (@KiptumCliff) February 24, 2017
Michael Tsimangi disagreed:
— Michael Tsimangi (@MTsimangi) February 24, 2017
Robert Muga tweeted:
#NotWithMyVote leaders who promised Kenyans better healthcare and now Kenyans dying in hospitals without doctors
— Robert muga (@Robertmuga4) February 24, 2017
The doctors’ strike has brought the nation's public health care system to a halt, and an unknown number of patients have died, as doctors continue to stay away from work.
Clement Kange'the complained about incompetent leaders with criminal backgrounds:
Drop out of school,sell drugs,buy a degree then ask for a public office to protect this atrocity.I refuse this system.#NotwithMyVote
— clement Kange'the (@Clementkangethe) February 24, 2017
Francis said he wants a leader who puts development ahead of tribal politics:
#NotWithMyVote any leader who prefers devt to tribes and regional politics definitely has my vote
— Francis (@wambugumuragu) February 24, 2017
While many Kenyans blame politicians for the country's problems, Tyson Wakhanu said he blames the voters:
— Tyson Wakhanu (@tysonwakson) February 24, 2017
Osborned Osoro said he's against the tendency of “recycling” politicians:
#NotWithMyVote will i Elect the same Old people who have been there ever since and they have brought no change in my country.
— Osborne Orori Osoro (@Osisherman) February 24, 2017
Meanwhile, some remain unimpressed with Kendyans’ Twitter hashtag effort. Weke Junior expressed pessimism about the entire #NotWithMyVote campaign:
#NotWithMyVote campaign is zero work, if we already have voting robots.The mental slavery syndrome should be declared national disaster.
— weke junior (@weke_boy) February 24, 2017