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Why the tech community should take a stance in Kenya’s democratic processes
By Raymond Gitonga | Updated Jul 22, 2020 at 12:46 EAT
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SUMMARY

Various communities have contributed to the multiple fights for liberation in Kenya, and it is now our turn to take up the mantle.

We will not achieve the perfect vision we have for Kenya as an African and world tech powerhouse, the Silicon Savannah, with the current status quo.

In recent years, Kenya has leapfrogged many countries in the developing world when it comes to technological advancements. In fact, we are toe to toe with developed countries when it comes to human tech resources.

Kenya has some of the best software developers and engineers in the world. But the question is why we slack when it comes to using our skills to participate in Kenya’s democratic processes. Foreign companies such as Andela and Microsoft have seen the opportunity and have set up hubs to take advantage of our human tech resources.

I pose another question: Why has our tech community slacked when it comes to raising awareness of issues plaguing us? Technology is a powerful tool used in many other countries to raise awareness of the ills plaguing their respective communities.

Pseudo-anonymous groups such as Anonymous have used technology through their brand of activism, hacking, to raise awareness on many issues. They participated in the George Floyd protests by taking down the Minneapolis government websites; this raised awareness on the problems plaguing America. During the Arab Spring, Anonymous helped fuel the revolution by hacking government websites and relaying the revolutionary message through these websites. They also helped the protesters with anonymizing software to help protesters stay safe from government crackdowns.

And it is not only through hacking but also through developing solutions that help advance us democratically. Kenya since the advent of multi-party politics has only had one election that was not marred by irregularities, why not develop solutions to help secure our elections, solutions such us trust-less systems like the blockchain. Develop solutions to curb or expose mega scandals or expose corrupt individuals.

Various communities have contributed to the multiple fights for liberation in Kenya, and it is now our turn to take up the mantle. We will not achieve the perfect vision we have for Kenya as an African and world tech powerhouse, the Silicon Savannah, with the current status quo.

The tech startups we build will not be able to compete on the global stage if we don’t solve problems such as corruption. Or joining hands as the tech community to ensure fair tax laws are passed that give us a conducive environment for our startups or companies. It is time we take a stance, if Kenyan hackers can orchestrate multi-million bank heists in other countries, then it is not a far-fetched dream to think we can use this energy to solve our problems.

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