Gen Z’s Search for Accountability

  • 11 Jul 2024
  • 4 Mins Read
  • 〜 by Anne Ndungu


Just as spontaneously as Gen Z arose to protest against the Finance Bill and reject it, so they also took to X spaces which have emerged as the new public spheres in the country. But the new public spheres are unlike the old barazas held by chiefs and other government officials in the market square where someone – usually the authority – spoke and the people then asked questions, 

The New Public Sphere on X Spaces

In the new public sphere of Gen Z X spaces, random people can host meetings, and after a brief introduction, anyone can speak and say their piece. It is similar to group therapy, where everyone talks of the ills suffered at the hands of the political class. The issues are always about the mismanagement of public funds, the wastage, the corruption. The youth unearth old scandals, and afterwards, the interesting bits are clipped and tweeted for posterity. 

Citizen-Led Investigations

Just as spontaneously, various tweeps have been doing their investigations. A user going by Don Bull (@mainandegwa232) has gone through the Auditor General report for all 47 counties reviewing the use of the National Government Constituencies Development Fund (NGCDF) by various Members of Parliament. The NGCDF is a sore point with citizens because, though lawful, it is considered by many as unconstitutional. Many feel that lawmakers should not have access to funds to carry out projects in their counties as this is considered an executive function. In addition, access to these funds is seen as a way to corruption and the Auditor General’s reports expose the misuse of these funds, as Don Bull’s Twitter account shows. He is not alone. Last week, after President William Ruto appointed a task force to look at Kenya’s public debt, the public lashed back at him stating that this is the Auditor General’s duty. 

X user @LeoKemboi’s thread looked into the Auditor General’s report on public debt. Under the thread, users posted photos of projects by governors and stated the sums used for the projects. Garissa Governor, Nathif Jama Adam, is under fire for Kshs. 220 million, as tweeted by user @honeyfarsafi.

Source: Tweet by user @honeyfarsafi on

The Governor of Baringo, Bernard Cheboi, was also put in the spotlight for building a gate to a school for Kshs. 35 million while children in the school sit on the classroom floor to study. It is tale after tale of corruption and the blatant misdirection of funds into personal pockets. 

Source: Tweet by user @Kotsocha_ke on 

While the idea is not new, as can be seen from the tweet below from @bonifacemwangi, the call for accountability has gone beyond simply calling out unfinished business to tweeps digging into records and accounts to unearth the dirt. 

Source: Tweet by user @bonifacemwangi on 

The private sector has taken advantage of the current watchful atmosphere to call out corruption. Tatu City is a real estate developer who has accused Kiambu Governor Kimani Wamatangi of extortion. Governor Wamatangi refused to approve the company’s master plan and instead asked for land allocation to build a governor’s residence. 

The Auditor General has also said that kshs. 1.1 trillion that was borrowed by the country cannot be accounted for as there are no corresponding projects to show for the funds. It is, therefore, clear that the political establishment in Kenya is largely complicit in corruption and must be brought to book by vigilant citizens. As one X user put it, Kenyans have to make holding offices very unlucrative so that only those who can do the job hold office. 

Gen Z’s 2024 Action Plan for President Ruto

In that spirit, Gen Z has presented 50 key actions in their 2024 Action Plan which they would like President Ruto to take for the reforms. These are summarised below: 

  1. Social and Governance Reforms: Fully constitute the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), disband unconstitutional offices, drop unnecessary Cabinet Administrative Secretaries (CAS), and address issues affecting young people.
  2. Restore Services to the People: Reinstate programmes like the Linda Mama Programme and National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF), ensure timely school funding, and restore the school feeding programme.
  3. Ensure Economic Stability: Amend financial legislation, ensure transparency in debt management, and conduct audits on government spending.
  4. Address Corruption: Strengthen anti-corruption laws, mandate jail terms for corruption, conduct lifestyle audits, and enhance accountability.
  5. Lower the Tax Burden: Abolish the Housing Levy and reduce taxes on essential goods, internet bundles, and late tax filing penalties.
  6. Implement Austerity Measures: Freeze public servant salary increases, restrict unnecessary expenditures like foreign travel, and streamline government vehicle usage.
  7. Invest in Citizen Services: Redirect savings towards education infrastructure, healthcare, and youth entrepreneurship.

Accountability will be ensured through regular meetings and televised updates. Gen Z proposes bi-weekly meetings on X Space every 15th and televised roundtable discussions on the 30th of each month until December 2024 for the  President and his Cabinet to regularly update on the progress of these initiatives.

As the wave of accountability continues to blow, President Ruto continues to cement a political alliance with Raila Odinga that could see a cabinet reshuffle and the formation of a government by the two parties. However, this has not gone down well with the people who still want to hold the president accountable and view this move as a deflection from real issues. So irked is Gen Z by this new development that they are calling on the African Union (AU) not to appoint Odinga as chairperson. This has been done by tagging the AU account on X and draft letters circulating on social media. Users on X have pointed out that if the move goes forward, the people will now be the official opposition.