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President Uhuru Insists No Extra Money, Calls for End to County Funds Standoff

President Kenyatta says Members of Parliament should act quickly to ensure that counties get their share of the available funds

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File image of President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House, Nairobi. PHOTO| PSCU

By Geoffrey Isaya

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday called on the National Assembly and the Senate to end the stalemate over the Division of Revenue Bill 2019 to allow the release of funds to counties.

He said Members of Parliament should act quickly to ensure that counties get their share of the available funds because any further delay will deny Kenyans the services they need.

The President, however, reminded MPs that the Government does not have unlimited resources and should bear in mind that what the National Government has been allocating to counties is much higher than the threshold set by the Constitution.

“The Constitution says we give a minimum of 15 per cent to counties. Within one year I took it to over 30 per cent,” said the President as he called on modesty and honesty in demands for more allocations for counties.

“Why can you not pass the Bill so that people can get services. Reach an agreement so that we can release funds to counties,” said the President.

The President said the country does not have unlimited resources and leaders should not act as if money flows freely and that Kenya’s “resources are unlimited.”

The Head of State said leaders also need to change their attitudes and understanding of devolution because the system of governance does not stand for competition between different levels of government.

“It is two systems of Government complementing each other to deliver services for the people,” said the President.

President Kenyatta
President Kenyatta at the same time called on elected leaders to go slow on politics and concentrate on service delivery.

He said devolution as a system of government is working for Kenyans and what is needed is for leaders to change their approach to leadership.

“I want to acknowledge my belief that devolution is working. What we need now is to focus on the agenda of delivering for the people who put us in leadership,” said the President.

The Head of State spoke after he officially opened the Ugatuzi Plaza that houses the Nakuru County Assembly Chamber.

He said elected leaders owe a debt to the electorate and the only way to repay them is to deliver services to them.

The President said he was impressed by the refurbishment and expansion of the Ugatuzi Plaza while also commending Nakuru MCAs for putting the interests of the people before theirs after revelations that the grassroots leaders had resolved not to use county funds on foreign travel.

President Kenyatta at the same time called on elected leaders to go slow on politics and concentrate on service delivery.

He said peace and unity are very important for the progress of the country because investors will put their money where there is safety.

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“Help me to bring Kenyans together. In me you have a partner in development,” said the President who addressed MCAs during a session inside the County Assembly chamber.

The session was also addressed by Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui, Senator Susan Kihika and ex-Nakuru Town West MP Samuel Arama among other leaders.

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Governments Around The World are Learning to Confuse Dissidents on Social Media

The researchers, who published their findings in a recent issue of Political Science Research and Methods, specifically examined social media from both the Venezuela regime and its opposition

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The regime also seemed to develop a more sophisticated approach to using hashtags on Social Media. The regime used long hashtags, as opposed to the shorter hashtags that are more commonly used, to promote distraction among the protest groups. Pixabay

Governments the world over are learning new tactics to quash dissent on various Social Media platforms, responding with tweets designed to distract and confuse like longer hashtags, according to a team of political scientists.

In a study of Twitter interactions during Venezuela’s 2014 protests, in which citizens voiced opposition to government leaders and called for improvements to their standard of living, the tweets of the protesters focused mainly on the protest itself, while the tweets issued by the ruling regime covered more diverse topics.

This could mean that regimes are growing more savvy in their use of social media to help suppress mass movements.

“When we started doing this study there had been a lot of optimism about the capacity of social media to produce revolutions throughout the world, like Arab Spring and the Color Revolutions in Europe,” said Kevin Munger, assistant professor of political science and social data analytics, Penn State.

“But it seems like, in hindsight, this was the result of short-term disequilibrium between the capacity of the masses to use this technology and the limited capacity of these elites to use it.”

A lot of these elites may have not been keeping up with modern communication technology and got caught unawares.

So, for that short period of time, social media did produce better outcomes for revolutions and mass movements.

The researchers, who published their findings in a recent issue of Political Science Research and Methods, specifically examined social media from both the Venezuela regime and its opposition.

Social Media
Governments the world over are learning new tactics to quash dissent on various Social Media platforms, responding with tweets designed to distract and confuse like longer hashtags, according to a team of political scientists. Pixabay

Following the death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in early 2013, Nicolas Maduro, Chavez’s vice-president, won a special election.

After his election, mass protests erupted related to economic decline and increased crime.

In their analysis, the researchers noted that the regime abruptly shifted its Twitter strategy after protests swept across the country.

The topics of the regime’s tweets became even more diverse than usual — including such topics as a tree-planting event — and often did not address the protests at all.

As the protests continued, however, the researchers said that the opposition also became less focused, which the researchers suggest may have been a reaction to the regime’s social media strategy.

The way that attention works on social networks offers a glimpse into why the strategy to distract citizens might be effective, added Munger, who worked on the study while a doctoral student in politics at New York University.

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Regimes are growing more savvy in their use of Social Media to help suppress mass movements. Pixabay

“To have effective protests, you need to have a ton of people coordinated on a single message, so spreading other narratives disrupts that process of coordination,” said Munger.

“Being able to spread doubt is effective. You don’t have to get people to love your regime, you just need people to less convinced of the single narrative.”

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The regime also seemed to develop a more sophisticated approach to using hashtags. The regime used long hashtags, as opposed to the shorter hashtags that are more commonly used, to promote distraction among the protest groups. (IANS)