Electoral Violence in Kenya 2007 – 2008: The Role of Vernacular Radio

This article examines how the shifts in vernacular radio narratives influenced
intergroup relations during the 2007-08 electoral violence in Kenya. Using
media as an analytical framework, together with original in-depth interview
data collected over four months of fieldwork in 2010, the article explores how
vernacular radio listeners in Kisumu, Eldoret, and Nyeri interpreted the
2007-08 electoral violence prior to, during, and after the event. It argues that
the framing of electoral stakes and subsequent violence by vernacular radio
stations is mainly between differentiated and concerted frames, depending
on the stage at which the violence manifests itself. Differentiated frames
reinforce divisive and/or rebellious attitudes, and are likely to increase
intergroup competition and further violence along ethnic lines. Concerted
framing underpins the perceived areas of common interest believed to
transcend disparate group allegiances, and this establishes the possibility of
intergroup dialogue and collaborative attitudes. These findings also highlight
the central role of ethno-linguistic proximity and ethno-regional polity as
potential drivers of vernacular radio frames, particularly in situations of
electoral violence.

File Type: pdf
Categories: Journal of African Elections
journal of african elections vol18 number 1 transparent democratic governance in africa