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Ruling on housing levy, Maribe, women’s rage over killings trend

Introduction

This trend analysis report spans January 22 to January 28, 2024, examining the interplay between digital dialogues on social media and their impacts on the mainstream media.  The topics featured include the housing levy, Monica Kimani, Jowie and Jacque Maribe, and protests against femicide.

Housing levy

On Friday, January 26, the Court of Appeal upheld a High Court order suspending the housing levy deductions from salaried Kenyans until the pending legal cases against the programme are fully adjudicated. Justices Lydia Achode, John Mativo, and Mwaniki Gachoka reiterated the High Court’s ruling that the levy was unconstitutional. President William Ruto, however, expressed his displeasure with the decision of the court and maintained his commitment to proceeding with the Affordable Housing Programme. The administration will appeal. The Executive and Judiciary have been embroiled in a public spat for a while.

The impact of this legal development reverberated across social media, with Housing Levy dominating discussions at #3, amassing 19,000 tweets over a span of more than seven hours. Meanwhile, the Court of Appeal held its ground at #5, generating 14,000 tweets for over six hours. The High Court trended at #8, with 19,000 tweets.


Impact on media

The legal and political significance of the Court of Appeal’s decision, coupled with President Ruto’s intention to appeal, led to increased news coverage. Media outlets dedicated more airtime, column inches, and online space to analyse and report on the ongoing developments, providing in-depth coverage of the case.

The complexity of the legal and political aspects of the case may encourage media outlets to seek expert opinions. Legal analysts, political commentators, and housing experts may be invited to contribute their views, providing audiences with a more comprehensive understanding of the issues at hand.

Monica Kimani, Jowie & Jacque Maribe

The High Court postponed a judgement to March in the case of the murder of businesswoman Monica Kimani in 2018. This came after former Citizen TV anchor Jacque Maribe, a key suspect, failed to appear citing illness. Justice Grace Nzioka emphasised the importance of all parties being physically present in court to uphold the integrity of the judicial system. Nzioka postponed the judgment to March 15, 2024. Maribe’s co-accused Joseph Irungu, also known as Jowie, was in court.Monica Kimani trended at #7 for more than seven hours on socialmedia, Jowie at #15 for more than seven hours, and Maribe at #20 for more than six hours.


Impact on media

The case’s sensational nature and involvement of well-known personalities contributed to increased media coverage. News outlets, both traditional and digital, dedicated more resources to reporting on the case due to heightened public interest.

The absence of Maribe and the postponement of judgment provided ample material for speculation and analysis by media experts, legal analysts, and commentators. Media platforms may engage in discussions about the potential implications of these developments on the trial’s outcome.

 #EndFemicideKE, #TotalShutDownKE

Thousands of activists, leaders, and members of the public gathered in cities and towns across Kenya to protest the recent brutal killings of women. The anti-femicide demonstration held on January 27, 2023, marked the largest event of its kind in the country, serving as a powerful collective stand against sexual and gender-based violence. Media outlets in Kenya have reported the tragic slayings of at least 14 women since the beginning of the year. During the protest, Nairobi Woman Rep Esther Passaris was heckled for her perceived silence in the face of escalating cases.

The protest gained momentum on social media, with the hashtag #EndFemicideKE reaching the top spot with 49,000 tweets for over nine hours. Simultaneously, #TotalShutDownKE secured the second position with 58,000 tweets. Passaris became a focal point of discussions, trending for over seven hours. The slogan “STOP KILLING WOMEN” emerged as a significant trend, lasting for more than six hours.

By January 28, 2024, #EndFemicideKE continued to dominate conversations, claiming the top spot with 27,000 tweets while #TotalShutDownKE secured the third position with 23,000 tweets.

Impact on media

The protest and the associated hashtags generated increased media attention both nationally and internationally. Media outlets dedicated more coverage to femicide, shedding light on the gravity of the situation and prompting discussions around the need for change.

The rise of online activism can pose challenges for traditional media outlets as they adapt to the changing landscape. Social media movements may shape public opinion and narratives in real-time, requiring traditional media to stay agile and responsive.

The extensive use of hashtags in online activism has demonstrated the power of social media in setting the agenda for public discourse. Social media platforms serve as spaces where grassroots movements can gain momentum and influence broader narratives.

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