Social Media and Elections in Kenya

Authored by: Martin Nkosi Ndlela

The Routledge Companion to Social Media and Politics

Print publication date:  December  2015
Online publication date:  December  2015

Print ISBN: 9781138860766
eBook ISBN: 9781315716299
Adobe ISBN: 9781317506560


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The political communication landscape in Kenya, as in other sub-Saharan African countries, is undergoing tremendous changes due to multifaceted processes of globalisation, particularly the changing stratifications in information and communication technologies. New technologies such as the Internet, mobile telephones, and tablets are inevitably shaping contemporary forms of political communication, be it political campaigns, mobilisation, participation, monitoring, or civic engagement. Social media platforms embedded in these new technologies create complex dynamics to forms of citizen engagement and participation in political processes. Political actors, citizens, and civic organisations in Kenya are increasingly seeking to maximise their political communication by adopting new information and communication technological spaces, including social media platforms. This chapter takes a step towards untangling the implications of social media to elections in Kenya. It explores the inherent potential embedded in social media, and provides illustrative examples on how social media was used or misused during 2013 elections in Kenya. The chapter tackles the question of social media influences on election processes in an emerging and unstable democracy. It also discusses the limitations associated with social media in the Kenyan context.

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