Raila Changes Social Media Strategy to Match Ruto

  • Combination image of ODM leader Raila Odinga and Deputy President William Ruto
    ODM Party Leader Raila Odinga (left) and Deputy President William Ruto (right).
  • Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga seems to have changed his social media strategy to adopt a more rapid, forceful, yet witty approach in his engagements online.

    This first showed on Monday, February 22, when the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader responded to claims made by former NASA principal Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper) on why he had skipped Raila's mock swearing-in ceremony in 2017 by sharing a video.

    The caption read: “I will leave this here”. Normally, the ODM leader would have issued a formal statement in response to the allegations made by Kalonzo.

    ODM leader Raila Odinga's tweet on Wednesday, February 24 2021

    On February 23, Raila was at it again - exhibiting a change in approach with regards to social media. Raila tweeted: “Super Tuesday!!!"

    The tweet took many Kenyans by surprise as many had expected Raila to hold a press conference and speak exhaustively about the massive BBI win at the county's level.

    On Wednesday, February 24, Raila tweeted: “I woke up to Busy Signal’s-REGGAE MUSIC AGAIN HIT…peace and love for every day. What are you listening to?”.

    The tweet appears to take a significantly consistent, yet different direction from what Raila's Twitter handle is know for - and Kenyans have taken notice.

    Many believe that the ODM leader has probably changed his social media administrator. The approach seems to borrow a from what DP William Ruto does with his social media platform.

    Digital strategist Brian Muuo, spoke to Kenyans.co.ke about what this new development means for Raila.

    According to Brian, the mere fact that Raila may have changed his approach on social media platform does not necessarily translate to number - and probably won't for Raila.

    "People will not wake up and vote for Raila just because he has funny tweets."

    "One can tell that Raila is becoming more proactive and therefore able to respond to political issues as they arise online, and with a light touch, which Ruto has been doing before," stated Brian.

    On whether the strategy could be counterproductive, the Digital strategist said the new tactic was likely to shock his followers most of whom are used to his rather formal engagements.

    "This is a branding move by the former PM who may be trying to appeal to the young people same way the Deputy President William Ruto has done.

    On her part, Social Development Consultant Nafula Kisiang'ani, told Kenyans.co.ke that Raila was trying to change perception.

    "There are those who see Raila as an old man, and should go home. One can tell that he is busy trying to change perception.

    "It is also a good proof that Raila is eyeing the presidency in 2022, even though he has not declared his interest in the top seat," said Nafula.

    Digital media is a powerful campaign tool, and one which politicians the world over have used to build support especially from the online community.

    A good example was seen in the recent US elections - with former President Donald Trump leading from the front with his controversial tweets - which saw him get banned from some social media sites.

    Kenyans politicians are taking advantage of internet explosion in the country to reach the masses. This comes at a time when Kenya is pushing the Digital Economy Blueprint - whose vision remains a digitally empowered citizenry, living in a digitally enabled society.

    ODM leader Raila Odinga's tweet on Tuesday 23 2020