Holding Government to Account: Journalists Guide on Tracking Election Promises

President William Ruto took a long list of promises to the August 2022 General Election

In a bitterly fought campaign in the run up to the August 2022 elections, President Ruto sought to contrast himself with the previous government – a government that he was the deputy president for 10 years – he repeatedly accused it of “failing to address Kenyans problems”.

On June 30, 2022 Ruto unveiled his manifesto promising to bring down the cost of living in his first 100 days in office if he is elected as the country’s fifth president. Further, during his swearing into office, President Ruto reiterated to transform the economy, ensure growth is shared evenly, and unite the country after a fractious campaign season.

Nearly one year into office, has Kenya Kwanza Government kept faith with its long list of elections promises?

Tracking and reporting on election pledges in the media is crucial for promoting transparency and holding elected officials accountable both at the county and national level.

Here are some effective ways to track and report on election promises made by Kenya Kwanza government and by the governors in the 47 counties:

  • Establish a dedicated team: media organisations can create a team of journalists or reporters specifically assigned to track election pledges. This team would need a refresher training to have a deep understanding of the political landscape, policies, and the ability to conduct in-depth research.
  • Document pledges: Compile a comprehensive list of pledges made by candidates or political parties during the election campaign. This can include promises related to infrastructure development, healthcare, education, job creation, and other relevant sectors
  • Develop a monitoring framework: Establish a framework to monitor the progress or implementation of the pledges. This framework should include key performance indicators (KPIs) or benchmarks against which the promises can be evaluated.

  • Conduct fact-checking: Fact-check the claims made by politicians regarding the fulfillment of their pledges. Investigate whether the promised actions have been taken, if the allocated funds were utilized appropriately, and if the intended outcomes have been achieved.
  • Engage with stakeholders: Interact with government officials, civil society organizations, and citizens to gather information and perspectives on the status of the election pledges.
  • Use data and visualizations: Utilize data-driven reporting techniques to present the progress of pledges in a clear and understandable manner. Create visualizations, infographics, or interactive tools to help the audience grasp the information easily.
  • Monitor public budgets: Track the allocation and utilization of funds specifically designated for fulfilling the election pledges. Investigate whether the allocated funds are being used appropriately and effectively.
  • Regularly publish reports: By publishing regular reports or articles highlighting the progress, challenges, and achievements related to the election pledges, journalists will be playing their rightful public watchdog role. Provide a balanced and comprehensive assessment of the promises, acknowledging both successes and failures.
  • Promote public participation: Media organisations can encourage citizen engagement by organizing town hall meetings, debates, or public forums to discuss the status of the pledges. Involve citizens in the monitoring process and gather their feedback on the impact of the promises.
  • Use digital platforms: Leverage social media, online platforms, and digital tools to reach a wider audience and encourage public participation. Use hashtags, online surveys, and interactive content to facilitate discussions and gather opinions.
  • Media Collaboration with other organizations: Collaborate with other media outlets or fact-checking organizations to enhance the credibility and scope of the reporting. Joint investigations and sharing resources can lead to more comprehensive and impactful coverage.
  • Follow up beyond elections: Continue tracking and reporting on the pledges even after the election cycle. Hold elected officials both at county and at national government accountable throughout their term, reminding them of their promises and monitoring their progress.

By employing these strategies, the media can play a crucial role in ensuring transparency, accountability, and informing the public about the progress of election pledges in Kenya

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