Yesterday a new face of Mzalendo.com was launched. The new Mzalendo.com has detailed information about Kenyans Members of Parliament. Among others ,there are detailed info on the MPS profiles, a searchable Hansard, scorecards and?vital statistics of most? counties?and constituencies.
For ac ountry where MPs say one thing today and do completely the opposite the following day, this a welcome developement. Kenyans now have a chance to scrutinise the MPs speeches in Parliament ?as documented in the Hansard. Mzalendo does not make any commentary on the Hansard but, presents it in a user friendly, searchable format and makes the entries available under every Member of Parliament’s (MPs) profile.
And already you can see the MPS trying to reach out to their constituents through Social Media . According to Mzalendo data so far, only, 47 current MPs are on Facebook, 20 on twitter and 19 have websites.
I like the scorecards component of the site. According to Conrad Akunga, one of the Mzalendo co?founders
We have also created three MP scorecards to allow citizens to make value judgements about MPs performance based on their accessibility, their Hansard appearances and Constituency Development Fund (CDF) spending. To make a difference in Kenya, we had to create context relevant score cards, since parliamentary attendance and voting records are often inaccessible.
Any Kenyan can access the website?through?their?computer?or?mobile?phone?and?find?out information about their MP or constituency by simply clicking or keying in the name. The website easily loads and fits to the screen of which ever internet device one may use. Mzalendo could be the best tool ever for Kenyans as to track issues of importance to them .
Mzalendo (‘Patriot’ in Swahili) is a non-partisan project started in 2003 whose mission is to ‘keep an eye on the Kenyan parliament.’ Mzalendo site seeks to promote greater public voice and enhance public participation in politics by providing relevant information about the National Assembly’s activities, MPs, and aspirants ahead of the 2012 elections.
In 2010 The Omidyar Network awarded funding to mySociety to provide technical and administrative support to Mzalendo to help relaunch the site, drawing upon their experience in building sites such as TheyWorkForYou.