Nation Media Group to track election conversations on Twitter


Starting this week, Nation Newsplex will track and chart the issues driving discussion on Twitter throughout the campaign period and determine who the most talked about campaigners are.

We are tracking these 10 topics: drugs and corruption, food and water, health, economy, security, jobs, education, Kenyan spirit, devolution and land reforms. In total there were 4,590 tweets on the 10 topics from May 5 to 11, 2017.

Which topics drove the social media conversation?

In the past week, corruption was the most talked about issue from among the 10 key topics that the Nation Media Group is tracking.

Online discussion on this topic was spurred by the US government suspending Sh2 billion in aid to Kenya’s Ministry of Health due to concerns over corruption and weak accounting procedures. Following the suspension, opposition leaders condemned the government for failing to fight corruption.

A third of the sentiments were positive, two-thirds were neutral and 11 per cent were negative. Corruption featured in a third of all tweets. User @khamwin said: “I congratulate the USA for suspending health support to the Kenya Government. @UKenyatta, see what ua corrupt relatives have begotten u!”

Another user @victorkatulwa said: “@KaruguMureithi @RailaOdinga We are in Egypt. Lets try Raila. These guys of digital...Corruption (NYS,SGR), Economic crisis, Shida tupu!”

But user @ezmwang had a different view. He said “#JKLive yes I will vote for @UKenyatta, he has done his best to deal with corruption, electricity, laptops in schools, free maternity, SGR”

Food and water came in second with 13 per cent of the tweets, followed by health with 12 per cent. The debate on food was spurred by State House spokesperson Manoah Esipisu announcing that President Kenyatta was concerned by the rising cost of essential commodities and had settled on fresh measures, through a supplementary budget, to address the situation.

However, opposition politicians countered that the statement was a campaign gimmick.

Understandably the topic of health was also mostly discussed in relation to the Aid freeze and the threat by doctors to go on strike again.

The tweets that related to the 10 topics were part of a larger total of 75,300 posts on the 2017 General Election 2017 from May 5 to 11. 2017.

Who are the most talked-about candidates?

During the week under analysis National Super Alliance (Nasa) flagbearer Raila Odinga was the most talked-about candidate. Half of all the tweets on the 10 topics related to him, while a third referred to President Kenyatta. The two are the most high profile politicians in Kenya currently.
Were men and women interested in the same topics?

In nine out of ten topics, men were more involved than women. The biggest gender gap was in the topic of devolution, where 48 per cent of the people who talked about the subject were males and two per cent females. The other 50 per cent were either organisations or people whose gender could not be distinguished.

It is only on the topic of Kenyan spirit where more women (23 per cent) than men (16 per cent) contributed.

Jubilee or Nasa: Which party is the most talked about?

In the period starting midday May 5 to 1pm May 12, more people referenced Jubilee (53 per cent or 31,944 tweets) than Nasa (47 per cent or 28,588). Conversation about Jubilee peaked today while Nasa was most talked about on May 8.

A tweet does not necessarily need to be supportive towards a political party to be included in either category.