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Fuelling the Flames: Rumour and Politics in Kibera

Fuelling the Flames: Rumour and Politics in Kibera Abstract Kenya's post-election crisis was partly fuelled by the seemingly innocuous, but insidious, power of rumour. In the 2007 election campaign, rumours fostering suspicion and mistrust were widely disseminated, and in the aftermath of the contested poll rumour frequently gave credence to claims that advanced specific political agendas. The use of mobile phone Short Message Service (SMS) texts in the circulation of rumours gave them an instantaneous spread, contributing to increased anxiety, sometimes leading to panic, and, on occasion, motivating people to action. This article examines the impact of rumour and its relation to politics within Kibera, a densely populated informal settlement in Nairobi's Langata constituency. Langata is the political base of Raila Odinga, presidential candidate and leader of the opposition ODM (Orange Democratic Movement). Between October 2007 and February 2008, rumour played a significant role in shaping public perceptions of the emerging political crisis in Kibera. This narrative suggests the ways in which rumour served to escalate tensions, while sometimes also serving political purposes. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Eastern African Studies Taylor & Francis

Fuelling the Flames: Rumour and Politics in Kibera

Journal of Eastern African Studies , Volume 2 (2): 13 – Jul 1, 2008
13 pages

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References (39)

Publisher
Taylor & Francis
Copyright
Copyright Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
ISSN
1753-1063
eISSN
1753-1055
DOI
10.1080/17531050802094836
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Abstract Kenya's post-election crisis was partly fuelled by the seemingly innocuous, but insidious, power of rumour. In the 2007 election campaign, rumours fostering suspicion and mistrust were widely disseminated, and in the aftermath of the contested poll rumour frequently gave credence to claims that advanced specific political agendas. The use of mobile phone Short Message Service (SMS) texts in the circulation of rumours gave them an instantaneous spread, contributing to increased anxiety, sometimes leading to panic, and, on occasion, motivating people to action. This article examines the impact of rumour and its relation to politics within Kibera, a densely populated informal settlement in Nairobi's Langata constituency. Langata is the political base of Raila Odinga, presidential candidate and leader of the opposition ODM (Orange Democratic Movement). Between October 2007 and February 2008, rumour played a significant role in shaping public perceptions of the emerging political crisis in Kibera. This narrative suggests the ways in which rumour served to escalate tensions, while sometimes also serving political purposes.

Journal

Journal of Eastern African StudiesTaylor & Francis

Published: Jul 1, 2008

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