Kenyans on Twitter show sharp differences on economy

Jubilee Party was more talked about than the Nasa alliance on Twitter in the past week, a review of Twitter data by Nation Newsplex and @Twitter reveals.

From 9pm on May 18 to 9pm on May 25, tweets referring to Jubilee were almost double (26,306) the ones that mentioned Nasa (15,387), just like the previous week.

Conversation about Jubilee peaked on Friday, May 19, while the National Super Alliance (Nasa) was the most talked about on May 23.

During the peak hour for Jubilee, which was noon on May 19, conversations mostly reacted to statements by President Uhuru Kenyatta when he accepted an endorsement of his presidential run from the Democratic Party of Kenya.

In total, 15 tweets were posted @UKenyatta in relation to the function during the hour but one tweet in particular got a lot of reaction. He said: “Intimidation of Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and Judiciary by the opposition is a factor of dictatorship.”

By May 26, it got 37 retweets, 48 replies and 88 likes. Among those who replied was user‏ @j_okerowho said: “Thank you for the work you have done and that you are going to do as we vote for you next term.”

But user  @wilsusy was not having it.  He said, replying to @UKenyatta ‘Where were you when @HonAdenDualewas threatening Justice Odunga? Mkuki kwa nguruwe au sio?”

This refers to a Swahili proverb, “mkuki kwa nguruwe mtamu,kwa mwanadamu uchungu” (the spear is sweet to the pig but painful to the human).

It means some people have no problem when problems befall others, but are concerned when the same problems befall them. In other words, the Twitter user means the President is now concerned about intimidation even if he was not concerned earlier.

User  @lawrmwangi was also not buying the President’s message. He said: could passing the security laws & election amendment laws also be termed as factors of dictatorship?

The second peak in conversation happened again at 6pm the same day when the President was endorsed by the Labour Party.

Nasa’s peak day was May 23, when Nasa’s presidential candidate, Raila Odinga, met with a delegation from West Pokot and Baringo counties at Orange House.

Even though the meeting took place at the 11am peak hour, what really drove Nasa-related conversations was the hashtag #10MVotesFor48MKenyans.

User @wangila08 said: "Corruption n Tribalism has bn biggest undoing of jubilee. Am told even Nepotism. Kenya for all Kenyans under @RailaOdinga#pundaamechoka"

But user @ngunjiriwambugu had a different view. He said: “@RailaOdinga must stop thinking the constitution is about him. It'sabout#45MillionStrong.”

The leading emotion in the tweets that targeted Jubilee was anger (24 per cent) while the predominant sentiment in conversations that mentioned Nasa was funny (24 per cent)

Twenty three per cent of the comments that referred to Jubilee were positive, 21 per cent were negative and 56 per cent were neutral. On the other hand, twenty one per cent of the comments that mentioned Nasa were positive, 21 per cent were negative while 58 per cent were neutral.

A tweet need not necessarily be supportive towards a political party or a candidate to be associated with the party or candidate.

Who were the most talked-about candidates?

During the week under analysis President Uhuru Kenyatta was the most talked-about candidate, dislodging Deputy President William Ruto for the top slot.

Two out of five (41 per cent) tweets on the 10 topics that the Nation Media Group is tracking related to him, while about a third (30 per cent) referred to Raila Odinga and thirteen per cent of the tweets were related to Deputy President William Ruto.

A quarter (23 per cent) of the tweets that mentioned Kenyatta focused on the economy.

User @ItsKombo said: Replying to @UKenyatta The Economy is doing bad, overborrowing, looting, tribalism, nepotism, plainlies.... #WakenyaSiWajinga#10MillionStrong

User @lesibia_leakey  said, “Consider having some benchmaking on economic matters. Maghufuli can offer free advice on the same.”

But on a positive note @M_mless said, “The Kenyan economy has grown by far under @UKenyatta#UhuruManOfThePeople.”

A quarter (26 per cent) of the tweets that mentioned Raila focused on jobs.  User  @zoonyumbakuni said: If @RailaOdinga can offer this guys (Kenyatta and Ruto) jobs that means they ain't as incompetent as he portrays. Kenyan politics though.

But user @BettylneM decided to have fun; She said Sh5,000 monthly to jobless youths who can't repay HELB. Raila will write off all the debts, and give us jobs! #Jubilee70Plus1Joke

Which topics drove the social media conversation?

The economy was on the mind of one quarter of Kenyans who tweeted about the elections last week. With a quarter of the tweets, the topic retained its premier position from last week.

More than a third (38 per cent) of the comments were negative sentiments, more than a quarter (28 per cent) were positive and another third (34 per cent) were neutral.

User @OfficialGreque had something to get off his chest on the economy. He said: “Our Kenyan economy Sucks! prices fluctuate over night.”

 @EAmovah  was also not feeling upbeat about the economy. Replying to @UKenyatta  he said: “Which economic growth while our debt has eschewed to a tune of about 4b in just 5years. Whats that?”

But user @Boncrazy1 was upbeat. He said: #iVoteUhuruBecause of how fast he has transformed our economy. Driving it to greater heights @UKenyatta.

At 21 per cent, education which was sixth in last week’s conversation was second, while corruption came in third at 18 per cent.

Security was ranked fourth at 12 per cent. Conversations on security centred around the two terror attacks in Mandera and Garissa that left nine police officers dead on March24, and a story about Kenyan women who are being trafficked to Somalia to be Al Shabaab sex slaves.

A total of 1,860 tweets from May 19-25 focused on the 10 topics that also include: health, jobs, food and water, Kenyan spirit, devolution and land reforms. In total there were 55,428 tweets that referenced Election 2017.