Published weekly by the Media Council of Kenya

To the Editor
Pen Cop
Off The Beat
Media Review
Media Monitoring
Literary Vignettes
Letter to the Editor
Guest Column
Fact Checking
Fact Check
Editor's Pick
EAC Media Review
Council Brief
Book Review
Edit Template

Kenyans study Haiti and portrait of Ruto as puppet of Empire


Trending topics shape discussions online and offline. They have a significant impact on the news. Often they influence what stories are covered, how they are framed, and even the creation of new stories. Here are some of the trending topics in the September 25-October1 monitoring period: Haiti, Uhuru Park and Community Health Promoters, #JosephatOdipoExposed, William Ruto with the Mask Off, AFCON 2027, East Africa & Kenya, #WorldTourismDay, #ChinaSioMarafiki, #HELB & Babu, Chebukati & IEBC, and Faith Kipyegon. We sample a few trends as monitored.
1. Haiti

On September 25, 2023, the United States and Kenya entered a defence agreement under which Kenya will receive resources for its security deployments. The country is preparing to take the lead in a multinational policing mission to Haiti to combat gang violence in the Caribbean nation. US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and his Kenyan counterpart Aden Duale signed the deal in Nairobi. Kenya has pledged to send 1,000 security officers to Haiti pending approval by the United Nations Security Council.

Impact on media

The signing of a defense agreement involving the United States attracted significant media attention. Media outlets provided extensive coverage of the event, with in-depth analysis and reporting on the implications of this agreement for both countries and the region.


The fact that the mission to Haiti has received support from both the United Nations and the United States underscores the international community’s recognition of the importance of addressing gang violence in the country. This support could also indicate a broader consensus on the need for collective action in addressing security challenges.
2. #JosephatOdipoExposed

This hashtag gained significant traction over the period when reports surfaced that Radio Citizen presenter Josephat Odipo had allegedly abused his professional position and access to Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi. It was alleged that he used his access to Mudavadi to intimidate and forcefully evict his sisters from a piece of land purchased by their father.

Impact on media

Incidents like this can erode the credibility of media organisations. When a media personality is accused of abusing their professional position, it leads to skepticism about the objectivity and impartiality of the entire media industry. The incident underscores the need for strict adherence to ethical standards in journalism. Media organisations may need to reevaluate their codes of conduct and ethics policies to prevent conflicts of interest and maintain public trust.

3. Ruto with the Mask Off

The hashtag gained prominence following an article published by Africa Interest, a website dedicated to African politics. The article portrayed President William Ruto as one of the most significant political deceptions in recent African history—a neocolonial figure disguised as a pan-African advocate to promote imperial interests across the continent. The article also highlighted Ruto’s deep connections within the Western imperial framework, emphasising his role in advancing Western interests in Africa.

It reached the #1 trending spot with 17K tweets, initiating the trend on September 25 and maintaining it for over 21 hours on September 26.




The strong claims made in the article can polarise public opinion and affect political alliances. Its timing and the proponents are also questionable. Sensationalist content can lead to heightened emotions and polarised views. It detracts from informed political discourse if not balanced by well-researched and objective reporting.

Impact on media

The article’s claims can have a profound impact on media credibility. If the claims are well-substantiated and supported by evidence, it may raise questions about political figures’ actions and affiliations. However, if the claims are found to be baseless or biased, it can erode trust in both the source (AI) and potentially other media outlets that amplify the story.

The credibility of the source can significantly impact the media landscape. If AI is seen as a reliable and objective source, its articles can gain traction and influence public discourse. However, if it lacks credibility, the media landscape may become more fragmented, with varying levels of trust in different outlets.


The hashtag gained significant traction as it circulated widely on digital platforms. Many individuals expressed concerns that China was providing financial support to the Al Shabaab group in Africa. Furthermore, it was suggested that China had adopted a strategy of targeting ongoing projects in Kenya to exert influence over the government, which is a crucial ally of the United States. It is believed that China may be leveraging its arms sales to Kenya. Many netizens expressed their concern that by supplying arms to Al-Shabab, China was indirectly contributing to the perpetuation of violence in the East African region.

The Media Observer collected a selection of digital cards shared by internet users below:


The text highlights the power of social media in disseminating information and shaping public perception. The hashtag #ChinaSioMarafiki, which translates to “China is not a friend” in Swahili, gained significant traction online. This demonstrates how social media platforms can amplify narratives and facilitate discussions on complex geopolitical issues.

Impact on media

The rapid spread of the #ChinaSioMarafiki hashtag and associated claims showcase the speed at which information can travel on digital platforms. Media outlets must be prepared to respond quickly to breaking news and be mindful of potential misinformation.

Given the fast-paced nature of digital media, journalists and media organisations must be adaptive and agile in their news gathering and reporting. This includes real-time fact-checking, engaging with audiences on social media, and leveraging multimedia storytelling techniques.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share this post

Sign up for the Media Observer

Weekly Newsletter

By signing up, you agree to our Privacy Policy

Scroll to Top