Presidential candidate in Kenya turns to Twitter and MPesa to raise funds

Thanks to the penetration of technology in Kenya, presidential candidates are now turning to social media and mobile money transfers to source for funds ahead of the country’s general elections set for March 2013.

Martha Karua, the only female presidential candidate in Kenya, is presently using her Twitter account and mobile money transfer, M-Pesa, to raise funds for her campaigns.

Karua has launched a Twitter campaign dubbed #SimamaNaMamaNaMia (Swahili for ‘support mum with Kshs.100/USD 1.2), something that has already gained popularity.

The move is viewed as creative and a clean way of raising funds, considering that past candidates fund their own campaigns, while others seek financial support from wealthy friends, who in turn expect favors if the candidate gets elected into office.

Karua assured her supporters that she will account for every cent received into her campaign, terming it as a way of “giving a red card to campaign bribes through a people-led campaign financing”

This is not the first of Karua’s dependence on technology, as supporters can also subscribe to Karua’s campaign updates via SMS by sending their name to 6512, and the small fee charged will be directed towards her campaigns.

Supporters also have been able, for the last two months, to ask Karua direct questions on Twitter for three hours every Thursday, using the hash tag #AskMarthaThurs. Karua responds directly to as many questions as she can, and has so far tackled among others: job creation, youth and women empowerment, security, reforms and the war on corruption.

At the moment, Karua has over 87,000 Twitter followers, termed as among the highest in the country.

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