A number of Kenyans are using social media to spread misinformation and paint the government in bad light. According to Nakuru County Commissioner Erastus Mbui, politicians are spreading falsehoods with an intention of setting up citizens against the government.
Mbui cited that among the issues which had been misreported include the fuel prices, which he claims are actually cheapest in Kenya compared to other East African countries.
“The correct information is only a click away, go to the internet and search fuel prices of the other nations and compare it to Kenya, the commodity is cheaper here because of government subsidies,” he said.
He also cited the #Lowerfoodprices hashtag which he says had been pushed, without taking into consideration that production costs had gone up.
Mbui was speaking in a meeting with the Mid Rift Human Rights Network to assess progress in implementing the Nakuru Action Plan on Preventing and Combating Violent Extremism.
He stated that combating youth radicalization requires collective action, as the youth’s creativity was being exploited to create the short videos used to spread fake news.
“This is a plea to the public not to believe the videos and audios being shared on the internet before ascertaining their authenticity,” the administrator said.
The meeting also addressed the looming threat of intimidations and chaos during the electioneering period. Mbui stated that the government was working with civil society groups, religious groups, human rights organisations, and others to raise awareness of the importance of mature politics and tolerance during this time.
Mid Rift is looking to use community-based interventions to address polarisation, radicalisation, and violent extremism in Nakuru through civic education, in order to deter adolescents from being used by politicians to cause havoc.
“There are criminal gangs in Nakuru such as ‘confirm’ and ‘wa-TZ’ that are mostly used by politicians during electioneering period to intimidate opponents and their supporters,” Mbui said.
He added that the county security team was working with community organizations and civil society groups to ensure newer illegal groupings do not mushroom during the polls.
“Residents have also been encouraged cooperate with the security organs and the local administration in fighting crime by sharing information through toll free mobile numbers,” he said.