New Media and Political Mobilization:Implications for Presidential Campaigns in Kenya, 2000-2013
This study sought to find out the influence of new media in voter mobilization in Presidential campaigns in Kenya between 2000 and 2013. During this period, Kenya experienced an exponential growth in the uptake of new media communication tools and official incorporation of new media in Presidential campaigns in Kenya. Using a conceptual framework, the study explains the utility and shows the entry-point of new media in the mobilization of voters in Presidential campaigns in Kenya. Through a survey research in Kibra Constituency and structured interviews, the study examined ways through which new media changes the resource dimension in Presidential Campaign mobilization and also whether new media is altering the strategic salience of ethnicity in voter mobilization in Presidential campaigns. The findings of the study show that new media tools make Presidential campaigns more expensive and do not change the importance of ethnicity as the primary basis of political identity and mobilization in Presidential campaigns in Kenya. The study concludes that new media makes a substantial a difference in a Presidential campaign when aggressively used in mobilizing campaign resources and in targeting their bases through bunkum and aggressive Get-Out-The-Vote campaigns.