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Updated on April 7, 2013

Communication and Elections

I write to you on the important subject of communication on the backdrop of historical and hard fought elections in my country. As i write this, the elected President, Uhuru Kenyatta has yet to be sworn in. The Ceremony for this occasion of the swearing in will be on Tuesday 9th April 2013.

The Media in Kenya though criticized in some circles, played its role in informing and divulging news on the entire elections and associated peace initiatives. All forums in the media - radio, television, print media - previously known as regular in the absence of social media, dispatched information in a reliable manner. Its noteworthy that the content in different media stations was quite similar and differences were only in presentation. However the media made up for lack of news (or absence thereof to use legal terms) by inviting 'Political analysts' and lawyers in their studios to explain some happenings particulary after the declaration of results by the Commission (i.e.b.c) and the subsequent election Petition in the high court.

Social media has played a very critical role in this form of communication. I can attest to several instances when news broke on Twitter and Facebook before any media station could divulge the same. Some analysts however claim that some journalists shared these news before sending the same to their respective stations. While i agree to some extent this school of thought is not fully cognizant of the impact of social media in an ever changing world.

The Presence of mobile phones (cell Phones) has also made communication during elections very fast because Kenyans will always inform each others friends, relations, work mates and colleagues on the happenings (particularly political and sensational) in the Country. That network apparently spreads very fast. One C.E.O of a major Mobile Service Provider famously attributed the company's high profits to Kenyans behavior in use of the mobile phone. My personal opinion is not very different.

The election and the entire period of the Campaign brought forth raw feelings of belonging and unity of purpose in my Countrymen especially because of the peaceful nature Kenyans voted on 3rd March. However some critics are of the opinion that Kenya has come out of the election more divided than ever before. While i don't entirely agree with them, i feel we need to work harder to promote a sense of togetherness in Kenya. However that is a story for another day.


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