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The Changing Role of Kenyan Bloggers in Exposing Corruption

 Kenyan Blogger Robert Alai
Kenyan Blogger Robert Alai uploaded the video clip of Nandi MP Alfred Keter threatening Police officers (image source BBC)

When a Police officer secretly filmed a video clip of  outspoken Nandi Hills MP Alfred Keter threatening and insulting police officers and workers at the Gilgil weighbridge on the Nairobi-Nakuru road, he did not send the video clip to any of the Kenyan Media houses including some of the biggest in the region. Instead, the officer chose to send the clip to Blogger Robert Alai who went on to upload it on  YouTube and tweet about it, in the process exposing the Nandi Hills MP abuse of office.

Mr Keter was accompanied by his URP colleague, nominated MP Sunjeev ‘Sonia’ Kaur Birdi, whose truck, which was fitted with a drilling rig, had been detained because it lacked an exemption permit as required by law. The 5 Minute video clip captures Keter clearly invoking President Uhuru Kenyatta’s name even when on the wrong side of the law and using expletive rants using words such as motherf****r.

The clip elicited an immediate statement from The Director of Public Prosecution, Mr Keriako Tobiko, who put out a statement within hours directing the police and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) to investigate the Gilgil incident. Acting Inspector General of Police Samuel Arachi also asked Mr Keter to report to the police for investigations. The clip also started the debate on why the police officer who filmed the incident from his cell phone chose to share it with a Blogger and not an Mainstream Media or Journalist.

There has been continuing criticism from media analysts, critiques and ordinary Kenyans online regarding what most term as ‘Media Houses receiving their instructions from State House on what to make known public’. Many Kenyans no longer think that media houses are giving them unbiased coverage of news and stories especially on governance, corruption and anything that might paint the current government in bad light.

The role of Kenyan blogs is now increasing and filling the void  of a platform that Kenyans can publish information on corruption as well as easily access and share such information. Kenyan Blogger Abraham Mutai was recently detained in police custody for questioning and later released for exposing corruption in the Isiolo County through his Blog and tweeting about it.

Robert Alai has been quite outspoken through his blog Kahawa Tungu as well as through his twitter page that has over 145,000 followers. Alai was in December last year charged with undermining the authority of Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta.

About Njeri Wangari

Njeri Wangari is the Project Lead for Kenya Monitor, a Citizen Journalism site for news and stories by Kenyans a project of the Bloggers Association of Kenya. Njeri is also the BAKE's Director of programs managing training and outreach programs. She is a multi-talented published Poet, blogger, Art & Tech enthusiast who started blogging in 2005. Njeri is very passionate about Citizen Journalism and expresses her passion through training workshops, talks and her writing on the same. Njeri is also equally passionate about Arts & Culture and Technology and writes on them through her blogs KenyanPoet.com and AfroMum.com

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