DP Ruto most talked about on Twitter, May 12 to 19

In the past week, from 11am May 12 - 11am May 19, Jubilee Party was more talked about than the National Super Alliance (Nasa) on Twitter.

Tweets referring to Jubilee were almost double (36,118) the ones that mentioned Nasa (20,960). Conversation about Jubilee peaked on May 16 while the Nasa  was most talked about on May 15. 

On Jubilee’s peak day conversations mostly reacted to the reduction of the price of a two-kg-packet of maize flour to Sh90, a TV interview of Deputy President William Ruto and Uhuru’s signing of the Standard Gauge Railway loan in China.

NASA’s conversation were fuelled by a rally attended by the Nasa Pentagon at Afraha Stadium where the leaders threatened to boycott the August 8 elections if the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) did not commit to announcing the presidential results at constituency level and talk about Gem ODM nominations.

Twenty three per cent of the comments that referred to Nasa were positive, 25 per cent were negative and 52 per cent were neutral. Twenty two per cent of the comments that mentioned Jubilee were positive, 22 per cent were negative while 56 per cent were neutral.

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

User @MisAntre said “There is no amount of filth equal to what Uhuruto gvt has done to us. None at all.”

User @Muchai_ke said: “Nasa/ODM thrives and are happy of Kenyans misfortunes from Terrorism “Mbooom” Strikes, Hunger nothing to offer #NASAYellowMaizeLies”

But user  @itsTarus91 was more positive about his party. He said: Uhuruto you have all that you need to win elections. Please win them and spare us from this mediocre NASA.

User @tribelessgeorgi also struck a positive tone. He said: “We must stand together as Kenyans and vote for Raila Odinga. The country needs him now more than ever. #10MillionStrong.

Who are the most talked-about candidates?

During the week under analysis, Deputy President William Ruto was the most talked-about candidate, dislodging Nasa’s Presidential candidate Raila Odinga for the top slot. Nearly half  (48 per cent)of all the tweets on the 10 topics      related to him, while one in three referred to Odinga. Seventeen per cent of the tweets related to Uhuru Kenyatta.

A third of all the tweets that mentioned Ruto did it in relation to corruption and food. Most of the tweets were reacting to the many TV interviews the deputy president gave in relation to the maize crisis, the economy and corruption. 

Three-quarters of the tweets that mentioned Odinga focused on the economy and food.  Odinga spoke a lot on the  topics during a NASA rally and in media comments. He was the only candidate who was mentioned in at least one tweet in relation to all topics. Furth more, a third of comments related to Uhuru were on the economy and related to the high cost of living and his trip to China.

Which topics drove the social media conversation?

In the past week the economy was the most talked about issue from among the 10 key topics that the Nation Newsplex is tracking on Twitter.

A quarter of the tweets (26 per cent) were on the economy, with some of the conversation centering on the deals that President Kenyatta signed during his tour of China. Others were on economic hardships and inequality but some were reactions to politicians’ comments.

User @wikikopere said: Every time I listen to @WilliamsRuto or jubilee sycophants talking of improved economy I feel a strong headache, where do they live???

But user AnGranvile™@Itsjaja_G  had a different view. He said: Pres @UKenyatta has been working hard for a good progress in building economic corridors btwn Kenya & other nations #UhuruAtBeltAndRoadForum 

User Peter@favouredmash was more concerned about how election violence could affect the economy. He said: @RasAmani @UKenyatta @RailaOdinga @WilliamsRuto #Agreed anyone who threatens Peace is enemy of our economy. Time will tell who fits this!

A quarter of the comments on the economy were positive, either praising the government for doing a good job on the economy, or saying that  a vote for Nasa is a vote for a better economy. A third of the tweets were negative, largely blaming the government for ruining the economy, while 41 per cent of the comments were neutral.

At 23 per cent, corruption which topped last week’s conversation, came second while food retained its third place but with a larger share of the tweets than last week, 16 per cent.

User Joshua Njenga @JKNjega  turned to humour to deal with the high food prices. He said: “Dear @WilliamsRuto, Thank you for the 90 shillings unga. I have seen it in the shops. When are you sending us the 90 shillings?”

A total of 3,182 tweets from May 12-19 focused on the 10 topics that in addition to the economy, corruption and water also include: health, security, jobs, education, Kenyan spirit, devolution and land reforms. In total there were 67,538 tweets about Election 2017.