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THE USE OF MASS MEDIA FOR YOUTH MOBILIZATION IN NATIONAL POLITICS IN KENYA

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THE USE OF MASS MEDIA FOR YOUTH MOBILIZATION IN NATIONAL POLITICS IN KENYA

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the Study

Politics in democratic states across the world have become standard and acceptable procedure for democratic leadership and constitutional governance (Jendele, 2015 & McChesney, 2015). However,from the standpoint of political communication or the media, the notion of mobilization varies depending on the study's topic and context. As scholars define it as “the process by which a passive collection of individuals in a society is transformed into an active group in the pursuit of common goals or coerced into political participation by an authoritarian government”( Cox et al, 2018) . In addition, the concept of mobilization is used to describe the process of employing creative efforts that promote the use of local assets to gain support for an organization, to generate circulation, and to realize more assets or capital (World Bank, 2017; Walgrave & Verhulst, 2019).

Additionally, Goldstein and Ridout (2019) identified three main elements of mobilization in their work, which affects voter turnout among the citizens of Kenya. These elements are aggregate rate of mobilization, effective mobilization contact, and change in targeting of mobilization. They found that mobilization has the ability to encourage individual engagement and that the more intensely it is used, the more persuasive it is and the more people it persuades to participate in a procedure or cast a ballot. Stated differently, a drop lessens the overall impact. Also, Kernell and Jacobson (2018) had earlier found that the major reasons for the decline (in turn-out) were institutional: “a decline in mobilization by parties, candidates, and groups such as labor unions.”

Further more, Kenya’s media system is relatively open and vibrant but the political will and the lack of national infrastructure in terms of support for the major media institutions keeps them from operating autonomously (Eckler & Kalyango 2019). This situation casts doubt on the independence of the Kenyan traditional media and questions their capability to perform their normative duty (Ogala 2021). However, in instances where the government owns or controls the major media institutions, journalists and media personnel who are pro-government get the top media positions in order to strategically serve state interests (Graham & Davies 2017; Tunstall & Palmer 2015).

However, the continued use of mass media in Kenya is not surprising given that its origins can be easily traced to the colonial era and the immediate post-independence period, during which governmental surveillance was not present but the government still maintained control over all aspects of press operations (Ng'weno, 2019). Also, it is worth noting that mass media in Kenya have a adopted a more local content especially with the radio and television networks where information is presented in the various local dialect (Ogala 2019). One major change that is sweeping across Kenya in recent times is the alternative development in communication technology, which has presented citizens with a much-needed deviation from the state-controlled sources of information (Onyebadi & Kalyango, 2010). Constitutionally in Kenya, an individual between the age of 18years to 35 years is regarded as a youth. Buck (2019), asserts that eligibility for the national parliament starts at 25 years or higher and it is common practice to refer to politicians as ‘young’ if they are below 35-40 years of age in a third of countries. However, youth are not represented adequately in formal political institutions and processes such as Parliaments, political parties, elections, and public administrations.

On the other hand, there has been a growing recognition of the need to involve youth in politics. Political leaders, civil society organizations, and the international community have increasingly emphasized the importance of mobilizing youth as a means to promote their party. However, some criminal groups in Kenya's urban areas, primarily comprised of young people, began to emerge around the mid-2000s and were frequently mobilized for political purposes. Some violent youth movements have arisen in recent years, with many young Kenyans being drawn into such politically militant networks. This phenomenon attributed to a combination of factors, including socio-economic conditions, political influences, religious factors, and the manipulation of generational identities.

Moreover, political parties have often mobilized youth wings to strengthen their coercive strategies. It has also become common for young people outside party structures to receive bribes from politicians to disrupt the political and electoral processes or provide them with an unfair advantage.Similarly, there are specific situations where mobilized youth employ strategies of inducement with material elements and promised recruiters and citizens to participate in a process. According to Martz and Baloyra (2016), material inducements were simply not enough in some cases. With reinforcement, mobilizers on certain occasions exerted maximum effort in turning out party or group faithful without necessarily inducing them with material elements. Also, in retrospect on how people were mobilized in the 1970s, 80s, and mid 1990s, today’s globalized arena of online media discussion groups, free virtual social media forums and other virtual participatory electronic devices like texting on cell phones have become the new tools for youth mobilization. Therefore, a survey will be conducted in order to assess the use of mass media for youth mobilization in national politics in Kenya.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

A variety of issues, such as the "hegemonic" character of communication in Kenya, enhances the opportunities for political parties and politicians to mobilize young people for manipulations in political processes.But as communication technology advances, it seems like the status quo is shifting. Social media and other online tools have completely changed how people communicate. Additionally,youths in Kenya, who are more accustomed to social media, are using it for a variety of purposes. It has a ton of possibilities for news, information, entertainment, political action, communication, and expression. Hence, it is in the light of these that the study seeks to assess the use of mass media for youth mobilization in national politics in Kenya.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The main purpose of this study is to assess the use of mass media for youth mobilization in national politics in Kenya. Specifically, the study will;

  1. Identify the causes of bad governance in Kakuma, Kenya,

  2. Find out if bad governance affect political knowledge of the youths in Kakuma, Kenya

  3. Find out whether bad governance stimulates political disinterestedness among youths in Kakuma, Kenya

  4. Find out if bad governance affect political engagement of the youths in Kakuma, Kenya

1.4 Research Questions

The following questions have been prepared for the study:

  1. What are the underlying factors contributing to bad governance in Kakuma, Kenya?

  2. Does bad governance have an impact on the political knowledge of the youth in Kakuma, Kenya?

  3. Is there a correlation between bad governance and the level of political disinterest among youth in Kakuma, Kenya?

  4. To what extent does bad governance influence the political engagement of youth in Kakuma, Kenya?



1.5 Significant of the Study

The findings of this study will be revealed to political parties and politician on the need to undertake serious and structured social media strategy. Further more, to the media houses, it will provide a platform for spreading awareness about political issues, mobilizing support, and engaging with a wide audience. Also, it will reveal to the journalist on the need for training to develop their skills and potentials, and gain exposure in the effective use of social media platform.

Additionally, subsequent researchers will use it as a literature review. This means that other students who may decide to conduct studies in this area will have the opportunity to use this study as available literature that can be subjected to critical review. Invariably, the result of the study contributes immensely to the body of academic knowledge with regards to assess the use of mass media for youth mobilization in national politics in Kenya.

1.6 Scope of the study

The scope of this study is boarded on the use of mass media for youth mobilization in national politics in Kenya.Theoretically, this study will find out the level of youths participation in National politics of Kenya, determine whether mass media promotes political participation among youths in Kenya, ascertain the mass media tools facilitates youth mobilization for national politics in Kenya and determine the role of mass media in mobilizing youths for national politics in Kenya.

Geographically, the study will be delimited to youths in Kakuma, Kenya.



1.7 Limitation of the study

In the course of carrying out this study, the researcher experienced some constraints, which included time constraints, financial constraints, language barriers, and the attitude of the respondents.

In addition, there was the element of researcher bias. Here, the researcher possessed some biases that may have been reflected in the way the data was collected, the type of people interviewed or sampled, and how the data gathered was interpreted thereafter. The potential for all this to influence the findings and conclusions could not be downplayed.

More so, the findings of this study are limited to the sample population in the study area, hence they may not be suitable for use in comparison to other schools, local governments, states, and other countries in the world.

1.8 Definition of Terms

Politics: the activities associated with the governance of a country or area, especially the debate between parties having power.

Youth:  the state of being young.


This material content is developed to serve as a GUIDE for students to conduct academic research



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  • Reference(s):

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  • Methodology: Yes available


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