Meru county government is furious over social media backlash about its development record. Top officials, including Governor Kiraitu Murungi and his deputy Titus Ntuchiu, believe the negative bloggers were being sponsored by the leaders' rivals.
Mr Kiraitu urged residents to shun negative publicity.
“Freedom of speech and principles of democracy are good for our society. But the road to achieving development in a democratic way can be rough and full of roadblocks,” he said.
“We shall not silence our critics; we shall treat their voices as concerns as we continue planning and implementing our development agenda.”
Mr Ntuchiu blamed the backlash on bloggers keen to justify the “regular bundles they have been receiving".
“We want to urge our youth to learn how to verify peddling of false information that paints this government wrongly,” Ntuchiu said during the Jamhuri Day celebrations in Meru town.
He said he and Kiraitu had to fend off calls from Nairobi and abroad to correct the negative perception that the county had pumped Sh400 million in buying dustbins, a matter that was contrasted with the Sh150 million the Makueni County government used to build the Wote Mother Care Hospital unit.
According to the deputy governor, bloggers had picked proposals from the County Integrated Development Plan, passed them as the budget and used them to mislead the public.
“We have only committed Sh2 million to purchase dustbins for our main towns and Sh2.2 million for fixed garbage receptacles for four markets,” Ntuchiu said. “The sad thing is we have our own... such projects, including a renal unit at the Meru Level Five Hospital, which are never written about”.
He accused bloggers of failing to trumpet “such revolutionary” projects as the recent launch of mobile garbage receptacles and lifting truck purchased at Sh11 million. “I wish to urge our youth to revert to the traditional respect of elders, the bane of the Meru culture, and stop these personalised attacks,” he said.
The deputy governor enumerated what the county government had done in various markets, including the improvement of Maua, Kianjai, Muringene and Nkubu markets.