We Are Watching You is a campaign to create political accountability in Kenya by increasing citizens’ vigilance and civic participation. The campaign uses elements of popular culture to sensitize citizens and works in collaboration with civil society leaders.
The need: Behind the political violence experienced in Kenya in 2007-08 is a deeply engrained impunity for Kenyan politicians at all levels: not only in courts but also in the minds and loyalties of the wanachi. Politicians are able to use inciting language and bribery on the campaign to mask their lack of accomplishments, or even their implication in scandal. High-level corruption prevails within government institutions, but politicians are rarely held accountable for involvement in corruption. Citizens are often too willing to forget the corruption and scandals that arise as well as the lack of follow-through on political promises; and when they do recognise and wish to act, they rarely have the leverage to be heard by politicians. This lack of real political accountability means that politicians are able to rally groups along tribal lines and to incite conflict and tensions. To tackle the lack of political accountability and high levels of corruption, there is thus a need to provide an outlet for citizens and civil society organisations to speak with a collective and powerful voice that will be heard by Kenya’s politicians.
What we do: We Are Watching You reaches the common wanachi by using popular media, specifically music, and local forums engaging youth in conversation and education on these subjects to create cultural vigilance and monitoring of politicians and their actions. Through these means the campaign creates a significant constituency speaking together in one voice. The concerts include civil society and NGO leaders as speakers and provide an opportunity for these leaders to confirm commitments to the campaign.
Local artists are able to join the campaign by committing to engaging in “edutainment” and including an educational component in their concerts and any public speaking roles they engage in.
Forums: We Are Watching You holds forums to engage youth in hot spots for violence in discussion and education surrounding the need for long-term political accountability and civic vigilence as an alternative to short-term promises and payments. These discussions, facilitated by youth leaders, create important mentorship relationships and engage youth in conversation and a learning process instead of a typical training or workshop in which they are given only facts or specific information.