Digital (Dis)order, Twitter Hashtags, and the Performance of Politics in Kenya

Ogola, George Otieno orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-4513-4550 (2023) Digital (Dis)order, Twitter Hashtags, and the Performance of Politics in Kenya. In: Cryptopolitics: Exposure, Concealment, and Digital Media. Berghahn Books. ISBN 978-1-80539-029-9

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This chapter examines how Kenya’s online community, commonly referred to as #KOT (Kenyans on Twitter), instrumentalise digital performances to facilitate the creation of new spaces and aesthetics of political practice. The formative part of the chapter briefly explores Kenya’s tightly controlled information regime as one of the state’s apparatuses for political domination. It then looks at how the growth of Kenya’s digital infrastructure and the emergent online digital practices, which manifest as a form of ‘disorder’, are subverting these controls. In the latter part of the chapter, I focus specifically on the micro-blogging site Twitter and how Kenya’s digital community #KOTare using it to create new spaces and ways of performing cryptopolitics. It is a practice that extends a familiar popular tradition of ‘concealment and evasion’, shaped in part by the country’s history of political suppression.

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