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Edible oil saga, Nyakang’o arrest and drama in Parliament trend

Introduction

This trend analysis examines prominent threads from December 4 to 10 touching on different themes in the media. They include the arrest and arraignment of Controller of Budget Margaret Nyakang’o and #UhuruFixedRaila.

#Moses Kuria

Following an announcement by the Kenya Bureau of Standards that edible oil imported by the government was not fit for human consumption, Public Service CS Moses Kuria has been in the limelight and trended for two days. As then CS for Trade and Industry he denied allegations of single-sourcing of the edible oil by his ministry. The hashtag gained wider reach and trended for more than 21 hours.

Impact on media

The hashtag trending for over 21 hours indicated wider consumption by the media by giving detailed information about Kuria, who is well known as a controversial politician.

#Margaret Nyakang’o

Controller of Budget Margaret Nyakang’o was arrested in Mombasa on December 5 and arraigned in a Mombasa court in connection with a complaint made against her in 2016 before her present job. She was arrested together with other 10 people over allegations of conspiracy to defraud, and operating a Sacco without a licence, among other allegations. The Director of Public Prosecutions approved the charges on November 30 through a letter to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations. Nyokang’o pleaded not guilty and was released on a Sh2 million bond or Sh500,000 cash.

Her arrest came after she appeared before the National Dialogue Committee in October at the Bomas of Kenya. The arrest gained prominence online with different hashtags like #Mombasa, #MargaretNyakang’o and #ControllerofBudget that trended for more than eight hours.

Impact on media

Her arrest sparked mixed reactions from several leaders with the media giving wide coverage. The opposition Azimio coalition condemned the arrest as a political witch-hunt. ‘Controller of Budget’ gained 12, 000 posts and trended for more than 10 hours.

#UhuruFixedRaila

Bloggers fished out an old video and photos of former President Uhuru Kenyatta for a campaign dubbed “Uhuru Fixed Raila”. This is happening as opposition leader Raila Odinga fights for the rights of Kenyans, particularly the high cost of living and many taxes. The hashtag that started trending at 8am had 10,000 posts.

Impact on media

Raila remains prominent in the media for criticising the government over the high cost of living, taxes, errors in KCPE results among other issues.

#Millie

On December 6 in the National Assembly Suba North MP Millie Odhiambo clashed with Majority Leader and Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung’wah over the fines charged on traffic offenders. Millie rejected the proposed traffic fines. The Traffic Act provides that “if any unauthorised person removes a notice affixed on a vehicle or tears/defaces the notice they are guilty of an offence and liable upon conviction to a fine not exceeding Sh200 in the first instance and Sh500 for subsequent convictions or three months imprisonment.” However, the amendment bill seeks to increase the charges from Sh200 to Sh200,000 and the fine of Sh500 to Sh500,000.

Impact on media

The drama in Parliament attracted online users and media, gaining wide coverage. Trending for more than 10 hours with 17,000 tweets indicates that such incidents ignite online engagement. Millie and Ichungw’ah are influential and outspoken leaders.

 

#StateHouse

State House gained online attraction after President William Ruto hosted Lesotho Prime Minister Sam Matekane to discuss youth development issues. The visit was after he attended Africa Youth Connect Summit in Nairobi on December 9. With 11,000 posts within a short time, it indicates public interest on President Ruto’s activities.

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