checking the facts in Kenya’s budget and public finances
A few years ago — 2009 — then Finance Minister, now President Uhuru Kenyatta, was caught with egg on his face when he ‘mis-stated’ some budget allocation numbers. He blamed the faux pas on a ‘typing error.’ That may have been so, but do you get a sense that public officials, civil society and even the media, sometimes deal casually with budget numbers and public finance that it leaves the public confused? Are you concerned that these ‘mis-statements’ influence public discourse about budgets and public finance to the detriment of the citizens?
To address the need to check some of these ‘mis-speeches’, Code for Kenya has partnered with the International Budget Partnership – Kenya (IBP-K) to launch PesaCheck which will be testing the accuracy and relevance of budgetary and/or statistical claims which relate to issues of public interest that are made by public figures and reported in the media.
As Kenya’s first media-focused fact-checking service, PesaCheck will examine and explain to citizens budgetary and public finance issues in a manner which will help them make informed decisions and actively participate in the budget making process.
Code for Kenya and IBP-K are happy to announce:
Leonida Mutuku that has joined this project as the first PesaCheck fellow. An actuary by training, Leohas a background in academic and financial quantitative research and is experienced in data analysis and the creative visualisation of data.
Prior to becoming a PesaCheck fellow, Leo was founder and lead of the data science team at iHub and has worked closely with startups and various organisations to realise the potential of data and technology innovations. Leo also runs Intelipro, a company that builds analytics platforms for financial institutions.
PesaCheck will provide a tip sheet, guidelines and other resources that can help pundits, media and civic commentators to exercise greater rigour and accuracy when discussing budget and public finance issues.
The PesaCheck blog will be syndicated into mainstream Kenyan media, social media and shall be made freely available for reuse by civic society and other interested parties.
PesaCheck is the result of a partnership between Code for Kenya and the IBP-K . The new PesaCheck fellow will be able to draw on budget and statistical experts at IBP to help test claims made by the media and public figures, such as politicians. The fellowship will also draw on data analysts and experts at Code for Kenya to help explain the often complex issues using infographics and data visualisation, so that even ordinary wanjiku can understand it.