What you need to know:
- TikTok could be the next frontier of political campaigning and a crucial part of the 2027 General Election.
- TikTok is arguably the most popular social media platform for young people in the country.
TikTok is arguably the most popular social media platform for young people in the country, with the latest survey showing Kenya leads in TikTok usage worldwide.
But a quick scroll of at least 20 accounts of top politicians in the country who have embraced the popular platform reveals that the viral video platform is no longer the preserve of millennials and Generation Zs.
In fact, the app could be the next frontier of political campaigning and a crucial part of the 2027 General Election.
Politicians are now directly speaking to an audience that isn’t watching the news as they harness the power of social platforms.
TikTok is also revealing the interesting lifestyles of the country’s youthful politicians, and the audience is loving it.
A look at their TikTok accounts reveals interesting statistics, such as number of followers, likes, most watched videos, and the most commented on videos.
It’s a treasure trove of useful information for a politician, and should one make time to sample the comment section, then they would know what their audience thinks about them since their audiences aren’t shy about sharing their thoughts and feelings.
Just what is this spark that is attracting Kenyan politicians to Tik Tok?
Nairobi Governor Johnston Sakaja seems to be the top TikTok star politician thanks to his mastery of sheng that endears him to the multicultural audience that makes up Nairobi.
Mr Sakaja, 38, has so far cultivated 472,000 followers on Tik Tok with a mishmash of videos, such as one showing him driving himself in the City Centre and another tackling serious issues such as malnutrition among primary school children in the slums.
He has so far posted 38 videos which have received a total of 2.2 million likes, making him easily the most followed politician in Kenya that is active on the platform. His debut video on TikTok has so far had 5.6 million view and counting.
“I’m finally on Tik Tok and this is my actual page. Let me know what to do next. I’m new in the streets. Karibuni,” he says.
Former Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho is also on TikTok. His account has slightly over 12,000 followers with 42,000 likes. He is following no one and has posted 47 videos which are never dull, spiced with music by artists such as Nadia Mukami, Jaguar and Diamond Platnumz. When he wants to prove his financial worth, he drives his expensive Lamborghini in the streets of Mombasa and later works out in a state–of–the–art gym.
If all politics is theatre, former Nairobi governor Mike Mbuvi, popularly known as Sonko, is theatre itself. Sonko long learned just how powerful social media is and uses it to his advantage.
The man has 391,000 followers on TikTok and 2 million likes and is the most active Kenyan politician on the platform, having posted over 140 videos. His talking points tend to revolve around his flashy lifestyle and fancy jewellery and portrays himself as a philanthropist.
“Mimi ndiye Sonko wa Masonko (I’m the richest of them all !), he brags in one of the videos as he flashes bundles of money in the midst of a battered economy.
Uasin Gishu Governor Jonathan Chelilim Bii, commonly known as Koti Moja, is also on TikTok, and boasts 18,000 followers, with 85,000 likes from the 81 videos posted. His posts are around the development projects he has launched or is in the process of launching in his county.
Kiambu Governor Kimani Wamatangi is a TikTok newbie with 662 followers. His posts are mostly on development matters, while Trans Nzoia Governor George Natembeya has posted 109 videos and has so far amassed 65,000 followers.
Mr Natembeya portrays himself as a servant leader, and in one video, serves himself rice from a plastic bucket using a rusty cup, and on another, he is seen preparing ugali .
“If anybody brings chaos in Trans Nzoia I’m ready to become a commando,” he quips.
Embakasi East MP Babu Owino loves karate and describes his constituency as a “Republic”. He has 154,000 followers and over 700,000 likes and has posted over 700 videos related to his development record, patriotism, justice and his family .
As for outspoken Nairobi Senator Edwin Sifuna, at the time of writing this, his followers were 126,000. He doesn’t hide his entrenched anti-government sentiments in his posts, as well as his contributions to the Senate.
“Kindiki doesn't strike me as a person who has ever slaughtered a chicken,” he states in one of his videos in reference to Interior CS Kithure Kindiki's tough warning regarding anti-government protests.
And how can one forget controversial Nominated Senator Karen Nyamu? She commands a following of 300,000 and her videos have garnered 1.8 million likes. In one of her most-watched videos, she is listening to rap music and asks those who have been admiring her to open up and make their stand known.
Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichun’gwah, described by his followers as the man who gives Azimio la Umoja sleepless nights, has 73,000 followers.
His hilarious video shows him running to work to avoid being locked out like CSs Moses Kuria and Kithure Kindiki by President Ruto has attracted 2 million viewers.
“Mapema ndio best,” quips the MP in the video
President William Ruto has no account on TikTok, neither does his Deputy Rigathi Gachagua, even though his wife Dorcas is on the platform, with 128,000 followers.
Other politicians who are taking advantage of this platform’s reach and influence include Kipchumba Murkomen, the CS for Roads, Nyali MP Mohammed Ali, Attorney General Justin Muturi, and Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru.