Every election cycle, Kenyan politicians go to their constituents to ask for votes and those who are persuasive enough get elected with the hope that they will bring development to their people. But there is a big problem.
Once elected, majority of leaders completely lose touch with the voters and only resurface with their usual political rhetoric when another election season nears to seek for fresh mandate, often with little to zero development track record.
It was against this backdrop that Uamuzi was developed.
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Uamuzi, a Swahili word for decision, is a Kenyan mobile application that connects leaders to voters and the vice versa.
“It is a social media platform geared towards making a better Kenya by helping enhance communication and improve governance cross the country,” said Elvis Sitati, one of the co-founders of Uamuzi in an exclusive interview with TUKO.co.ke.
“It bridges the gap between leaders and the electorate and helps the voters make informed decisions before they elect their leaders. For instance, they are able to gauge what the leaders have accomplished. The leaders are, on the other hand, able to reach out to and understand the needs of the voters much better,” Daniel Nyangarasi, the other co-founder, elaborated.
The two apps are already in Google Play Store from where users can be able to access, download and install them at their own convenience.
Voter App has four sections, namely Homepage where voters can follow politics of their leader; Newsfeed where voters can follow politics of all other leaders; Group Chat where users can chat directly with their area leader and User Profile where users have information about their county, constituency and ward.
Once a voter downloads and installs the Voter App, they are taken to Sign Up page where they enter their names, phone numbers, date of birth and also email addresses.
“It is at the sign up stage that the new users will also be asked to choose their county, constituency and ward, where they are registered as voters,” Sitati explained.
Unlike the Voter App, the Aspirant App has additional features which include users’ National ID number to be used during verification of the aspirant’s account.
“The leaders will also be required to do a short description about themselves, upload their manifesto, which is a mandatory requirement, and choose whether they are incumbents or aspirants and the political position being contested for or held,” Nyangarasi said.
Most importantly, the aspirants/leaders would be required to pay some small fee before their accounts are activated.
“Governors will pay a sum of KSh 50,000, senators KSh 40,000, MPs KSh 30,000, Woman Reps and MCAs KSh 20,000. Ideally, the bigger the position the higher the pay. The amounts vary because of the kind of audience each position amasses,” Sitati said.
The Uamuzi idea was mooted in 2014 when Sitati and Nyangarasi were still in their third year of study at Kenyatta University (KU).
The duo graduated in 2015, after which they started looking for capital to be able to transform the idea into a product.
A year later in 2016, they received a seed capital of KSh 150,000 from K-Macho, a Kenyan tech company concerned with data collection and storage.
The co-founders then brought on board a developer, TechMoran, and by 2017, the app was ready.
“We did the testing in early 2018 during which we invited friends to subscribe and then launched in December 2018,” added Sitati.
About three months later, more than 1,000 voters have downloaded Uamuzi Voter App and some 14 leaders have downloaded Uamuzi Aspirant, most of them MPs and MCAs.
Lang’ata MP Nixon Kiprotich Korir is currently one of the active users of Uamuzi’s Aspirant App.
For Sitati and Nyangarasi, bigger plans and better days are still ahead.
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