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Follow the Hashtag

What would happen #IfKenyaWas1stWorld?

Starting as a comic attemp to go viral by a young team of twitter addicts, the hashtag #IfKenyaWas1stWorld was retweeted by thousands of Kenyans who are now using it to voice serious concerns about their country.

Kenyans are not happy with the current state of their country. They have a long list of grievances against their government, which they accuse of failing to deliver on a wide range of issues from education, infrastructure and security. And many are turning to social media to voice their discontent.

Among them is Anderson Maina, a member of a self-proclaimed “hashtag making” team - a common phenomenon in Kenya's social media landscape. Seeing an opportunity to go viral, he created the hashtag #IfKenyaWas1stWorld.

Maina tells DW they just started the hashtag for fun, but there's more to it than just laugh. Maina says Kenyans are “not satisfied with our government,” and that the hashtag was also for him and other Kenyans to “air our grievances.” Maina hopes the Kenyan parliament will “get the hint" and try and ajust to some of the the demands carried by the tweets.

After Maine first tweeted, the hashtag really gained traction once it was picked up by Ma3Route, a popular crowd-sourced transport platform in Kenya, which has over 300,000 followers. They used to complain about the state of the country's roads.

Roads were a recurrent topic, with many users denouncing the unfixed potholes and poorly upkept highways across Kenya.

Public transport was also mentioned in several tweets.

But it's not all about roads and railways. The country's education has also been grabbing Kenyans' attention, with users saying the current system does not work.

Kenyan teachers have recently gone on

strike

to protest against their low pay.

Twitter users also expressed their wishes for a better job market and a stronger economy. Educated Kenyans have been searching for alternatives due to the lack of career oportunities, with many ending up leaving to other countries in search for a better future, both professionally and financially.

Many users argue Kenya's current woes are a result of years of corruption in the country. President Uhuru Kenyatta recently

declared Kenya's corruption a national security threat

, as “bribe accepted by an official can lead to successful terrorist attacks.”

Others chose to point out the lifestyle differences that come with life as a first world country.

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