Social media has increasingly become an indispensable tool in Kenya’s political spaces. Its wide reach has rendered it an asset to political leaders who use it to spread information, to campaign, and to mobilise supporters during election cycles. However, the use of social media has presented a dilemma for conflict prevention and peacebuilding. It was used to incite hatred and violence during the 2007 elections where hateful and incendiary messages were circulated through popular social media platforms, leading to calls for regulation to stem the spread of hate speech. The same trend is being recorded as the country prepares for 2017 elections. On the other hand, it is also used to provide counter-messaging and promote peace messages.
Social media and digital technologies as used by Kenyan citizens and leaders, thus poses a threat to stability but also presents opportunities for peacebuilding. This study seeks to identify some of the opportunities and limitations of social media and other digital platforms on the political landscape, especially how they are used to mobilise, monitor, respond to and prevent violence, as well as their usage in peacebuilding.