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The double edge implications of internet technology in the evolution of devolution

By Mohamed Wato | June 10th 2015

Kenya: The world is awake to the endless opportunities brought about by Information communication technology in all spheres of life – medical, engineering, security and many more. Internet technology is the foundation for the concept of “Global village”, a borderless world where the movement of material commodity and information is no longer limited by physical boundaries, as the superhighway of technology knows no bound of time and space, and has super ability of global reach.

In the today’s world, things are done completely different from the way they were done in the last decade. The evolution of technology is continuously dynamic. This revolutionary nature of internet technology is the factor, which exceedingly affects political environment that is extremely dependent on information

As rallies and Baraza’s are outmoded by internet social interaction platforms, and as they become outdated, political conspiracy is effectively relegated to the cemetery. Enhanced civic awareness promotes transparency and accountability. The public can no longer be short changed by fervent politicians.

The least developed countries of the world such as Kenya is not left behind. Internet infrastructure is slowly spreading out, and in positive ways, affecting the operations of critical economic sectors such as banking, financial markets, transport and communication, education and politics. The fibre optic network has extensively covered Kenya and improved internet connectivity.

In the same way, it has brought positive changes; the internet is equally proving to be a fertile source of negative things. The internet technology platforms such as Facebook, twitter, and whatsapp applications are increasingly shaping the outcome of devolution in Kenya. In some counties, facebook posts of pictures displaying evidence of service delivery by the local government is a source of pride for users. In others, pictures of criminal activity, banditry, and hunger stricken citizen wrecks emotional anger and rage.

The dotcom generation that operates in cyber environment and is ubiquitous. In most instances, they have shown ability to operate with impunity and evade the radar of law enforcement especially in countries where relevant cyber laws and enforcement capacity is inadequate.

With that, I do not mean to condemn the digital youth for their advancement. In fact, one thing that is fuelling the devolution engine of Kenya, is the agile cyber community that is making public administrators and elected officials accountable for every move they make.

The governor of Machakos, Dr. Alfred Mutua, and the Jubilee administration, are two establishments that have shown political acumen and resilience to adapt in the dynamic cyber environment. On the other hand, Counties like Marsabit, Embu, and Kisumu are reeling under pressure as the public uproar mounts to seek for participatory political democracy, service delivery, transparency, and equal distribution of resources.

There is simply nowhere to hide. The new frontier of nanotechnology makes the future even bleaker for inept bureaucrats who cherish unethical operations. Through nanotechnology infusion, trousers and socks can last longer and keep people cool in the summer. Isn’t that a wonderful thing? It means Governors can soon be made accountable, and to learn how to step down when their integrity becomes questionable. Fortunately, Kenya’s devolution came about at the right time.   

By Mohamed Wato, Political commentator and analyst. Email: [email protected]

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