November 22nd 2017

Top Stories / 2017 Elections

Uhuru launches new campaign website, but old credibility problems persist

Earlier in October 2013, the president had launched yet another website, www.president.go.ke, which was also said to be a one-stop shop for those seeking government information.

By Joshua Mwangangijmwangangi@kenyafreepress.comTuesday, 11 Apr 2017 08:05 EAT

The homepage of the new government website.

President Uhuru Kenyatta took a decisive step in his re-election campaign yesterday by launching a website where Kenyans can track the achievements of his government. Launching the National Government Public Information Portal, the president said it will allow every Kenyan to access details of all investments made by the Jubilee Government over the last four years.

The portal delivers information on Jubilee flagship programmes, Ministry milestones and the work the National Government is doing in the 47 counties, according to the president. The website, www.delivery.go.ke, was live immediately after its launch at a colourful ceremony where the president was accompanied by the cream of the civil service.

Titled ‘The Journey of Transformation’, the website divides into thematic areas in accordance with the Jubilee government's manifesto and geographically, county by county. It contains most of the information anyone would need about how the government perceives its performance but has little more than Kenyans already know.

Opinion was divided on whether the government needed a website to highlight its achievements. Kakamega senator Bonny Khalwale criticised the use of delivering title deeds to Kenyans as being among the government's achievements. "They'll be bragging about issuing 2.4 million title deeds, but we'll remind them that the court declared those deeds fake," said the senator.

"This is nothing to smile about. The government has neglected the poor," a Facebook user, Maish Munene, wrote on the president's Facebook wall. "Personally, I have not seen anything this government has done in a bid to better the lives of Kenyans. Life is hard in Kenya. No jobs. No contracts. The cost of living is high. Some communities are marginalized in terms of government projects. I don't think I vote in again this government," wrote Williams Ntoina on Facebook.

Some users questioned the president's overreliance on launching websites as a strategy of highlighting his successes. "One wonders how many websites the president is going to launch. Does it mean there is no development to be seen by the people such that people have to log into a website to see them?" posed Christopher Ouma on Facebook.

In March 2015, President Kenyatta launched My Government, website that was marketed as the place where Kenyans would access news on all government activities. Specifically, the president urged all Government institutions to use the web portal instead of spending resources on advertisements on private media.

That website is still in use and, like the one that was launched yesterday, the My Government portal is divided into segments including the Ministries, Flagship Projects, Investment and Counties that are featured in the current one.

Earlier in October 2013, the president had launched yet another website, www.president.go.ke, which was also said to be a one-stop shop for those seeking government information. Dennis Itumbi, the Director for Digital and New Media at State House, told the Standard, “The idea is to create Internet and social media institutions across Government. We will create institutional brands as opposed to personal channels, so that Presidents and officials who come years after our departure will not be required to create new channels”.

As it happens, the website went into disuse even before the president's first term was over, necessitating a new one. 

The president's supporters however found the new website welcome. "I am proud you launched this GOK Delivery, ndio hawa majamaa wa vitendawili waone truck record yetu. I was also humbled to attend the launch only I didn’t manage to have a picture with you Your Excellency fanya mpango tafadhali," wrote Marto Mureithi on Facebook.

In addition to some of well-known Jubilee projects like the building of the standard gauge railway, the president says the government has constructed 1,800 housing units for the police, which is about 450 units per year.

Some of the projects listed in the website were undertaken by the grand coalition government or have been implemented by CDF funds. For example, in Homa Bay County, most development projects listed fall under county governments. These include Sh430 million for health services at the Homa Bay County Referral Hospital and Sh380 million for Rachuonyo Level 4 Hospital, street lighting projects and murraming or rural access roads which are under the National Government Constituency Funds (CDF).

There is also the disbursement of devolved funds including the grants for the elderly, youth and women funds that preceded the Jubilee government and the government's own Uwezo funds. In security services, the construction of an office block at Oyugis Police Station which is 85 percent complete.

Quite paradoxically, the list of achievements includes the registration of savings cooperative and biometric registration of youths to work in the National Youth Service.

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