Kenyans mock president’s passion for project launches

Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta.Picture: Reuters

Kenya’s notoriously caustic tweeters have taken aim at President Uhuru Kenyatta’s love for a good ribbon-cutting, mocking his endless unveilings of often bizarrely named projects.

Kenyatta, who is seeking re-election in August, has an active Twitter account which has recently been abuzz with him launching a series of infrastructure projects alongside tweets reminding the country of how much development he has brought.

However his commissioning last week of a footbridge in the coastal region of Mombasa, dubbed the “Buxton Footbridge Non-Motorised Transport Project” was a step too far for Kenyans on the social networking site.

They criticised him and his advisors for publicising such small projects — highlighting that many had been previously launched or commissioned.

“This fetish with ribbons must be investigated,” tweeted James W.

The publicity stunt saw the country’s twittering class, widely known as Kenyans of Twitter (KOT) launch the hashtag #UhuruChallenge in which they came up with their own projects to be launched or commissioned.

Alongside a picture of a toothpick container tied with a ribbon, one Kenyan wrote: “I have commissioned the multi-million manually propelled dental debris excavator project.”

Another posted a picture of a condom tied with a ribbon, declaring he was launching a “virginity eradication programme.”

An even more inventive tweeter came up with a “launching kit” of a pair of scissors and a roll of ribbon, while another pictured a pair of flip-flops to commission his “advanced mobility apparatus project.”

Others took a more serious tone, pointing to some of the problems plaguing the east African nation.

“When you realise the only thing you ain’t launched yet is a spirited fight against corruption,” one person wrote.

Others referred to the biting drought in the country, and a strike by public health doctors that has lasted over a month.

Meanwhile data science company Odipo Dev published graphs showing that a quarter of all projects launched by Kenyatta were carried out in the past six months.

The election race is heating up in the country, with some 4,000 opposition members meeting in the capital Wednesday in a bid to come up with a common platform to unseat Kenyatta.