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Trends: Babu-Sakaja brawl, Benny Hinn’s Nairobi date and Baba the 6th

Introduction

The trend analysis report provides a detailed examination of the content that has shaped conversations online. The report further looks at the implications of the online stories on the wider media landscape in Kenya. The stories were monitored September 18–24, 2023. Some of the trending topics include #CorruptGovernorSakaja & Babu, Maina Njenga, Ezra Chiloba, Roger Whittaker, Benny Hinn, Baba the 6th, #InternationalDayOfPeace & Westgate, Haiti, RIP Field Marshal Mama, and Eliud Kipchoge & #BerlinMarathon2023.


1. #CorruptGovernorSakaja & Babu

Embakasi East MP Babu Owino and Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja have recently found themselves embroiled in a heated online feud on X. The dispute began when Owino criticised Sakaja’s school feeding programme as a scandal. In retaliation Sakaja shared a video clip from the DJ Evolve shooting incident and then posted evidence of pupils enjoying lunch under his programme. Despite the programme’s smooth operation across the county, Sakaja lamented that “opportunistic premature 2027 aspirants” were determined to sabotage its success.

The hashtag #CorruptGovernorSakaja trended at #2 on September 12 for over 10 hours and continued its prominence on September 19, remaining in the top spot for over 20 hours.

Analysis

Online feuds often lead to polarisation, where supporters from both sides become more entrenched in their positions. This can exacerbate political divisions in Kenya, making it more challenging to achieve consensus and compromise on important national issues. Some of these online campaigns could be sponsored by individuals who are against the governor and the media should be cautious in its reporting.

Impact on media

The feud of two ‘popular’ leaders will likely lead to increased media coverage, both in traditional and digital outlets. News agencies, newspapers, TV channels, and online platforms may all report on the ongoing battle, analysing the statements made by both politicians and providing context to their feud. Caution must be taken to ensure objectivity.


2. Maina Njenga

The trial for former Mungiki leader Mana Njenga is scheduled for December 4, 2023. This follows his appearance before the Makadara law courts on Monday, September 18. Njenga faces various charges, including the alleged planning of Azimio La Umoja One Kenya demonstrations. Njenga, who had reportedly been abducted, was subsequently released after 24 hours. He trended for over 21 hours.

Impact on media

The trial of a prominent figure like Mana Njenga is likely to receive extensive media coverage. It could dominate headlines in both local and national news outlets, as well as garnering international attention, depending on the nature of the charges. Media coverage of the trial may raise legal and ethical questions. Journalists will need to balance the public’s right to know with the accused’s right to a fair trial.

3. Benny Hinn

American-Canadian televangelist Benny Hinn is preparing to host a crusade in Kenya, marking his return after over two decades. The preacher disclosed that he had received an invitation from First Lady Rachel Ruto to conduct a government-sponsored crusade. However, specific details regarding the dates and locations of the upcoming event are yet to be revealed.

Analysis

Kenya has diverse religions and the interplay between religion and politics has always been a complex issue. Events like this can help highlight the intersection of these two domains, and criticism or controversy surrounding the event may lead to discussions about the constitutional separation of church from the state.


Impact on media

Benny Hinn’s crusade is likely to receive significant media attention in Kenya and potentially internationally, leading to increased viewership, readership, and online engagement. Television and radio stations may dedicate airtime to broadcast the crusade live or record it for later broadcast. This could boost ratings and advertising revenue. Religious networks and channels may also provide extensive coverage.


4. Baba the 6th

The hashtag went viral after ODM treasurer Timothy Bosire stated that Azimio la Umoja leader Raila Odinga is in good health, emphasising that age is merely a number. Bosire confirmed that nothing would deter ” Baba the 6th” movement. If Raila declares his intention to run in 2027, it would mark his sixth attempt at the presidency. Nevertheless, netizens took to the internet to share memes using the hashtag, which garnered widespread attention.

Impact on media

In-depth analysis and opinion pieces in newspapers, television, and online media could delve into the implications of Raila’s potential candidacy in 2027, his chances of success, and the broader political landscape in Kenya.

Mainstream media might also seek to capture the public’s reaction to Timothy Bosire’s statement and the online response. They may conduct interviews, surveys, or panel discussions to gauge public sentiment regarding Raila’s sixth presidential bid.

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