This is perhaps ‘direct democracy’ that governments would dread. Kenyans don’t want the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to lend to their government. To that end, they have been furiously signing online petitions and taking to Twitter and other social media platforms to criticize the IMF’s decision to lend $2.34 billion in a three-year financing package.
They don’t want their government availing loans because, many have alleged on social media, the bulk of the cash will be embezzled by the government officials. At the same time, the citizens will be left holding the bill through higher taxes, reduced public expenditure, etc. Some have even suggested that the IMF wait until “a more accountable government is elected next year.”
One petition, as per Bloomberg, states, “Previous loans to the Kenya government have not been prudently utilized and have often resulted in mega-corruption scandals”—this petition garnered hundreds of thousands of votes within days of being created. Of course, the IMF won’t likely revoke the loan. Still, faced with bad publicity over the lending, it could perhaps pressure the Kenyan government to be more accountable regarding public spending—for the time being, it has chosen to focus on the burden that the Kenyan public would have to shoulder from alternative borrowing as well as the fact that the lending will help the country meet “medium-term” needs. The IMF may well be correct, but ordinary Kenyans seem too embittered by graft to be buying this.