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HomeNewsKenyans Praised Ruto Despite Anti-Finance Bill Protests- Report

Kenyans Praised Ruto Despite Anti-Finance Bill Protests- Report

Ruto has been on the hot seat for the wrong reasons since the protests began, with remarks hinting at the government engaging the country’s Gen Zs on Sunday, June 23 doing little to de-escalate the protests.

Despite drawing intense criticism regarding the Finance Bill 2024 culminating in protests across the country, a section of Kenyans on social media held positive sentiments about him, according to a new report released on Friday, June 28.

The report was derived from a survey carried out by Belva Digital, a marketing technology company based in Kenya, which was monitoring the conversation on digital media based on the #RejectFinanceBill protests, both offline and online.

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The company’s founder, Fred Kithinzi, in response to queries, revealed that the survey was carried out over the past two weeks, with the report taking into consideration the sentiment score on the Head of State.

Including mentions of “William Ruto” and his nickname “Zakayo”, impressions regarding the President clocked 310.92 million, with interactions numbering 4.78 million.

Screengrab of President William Ruto in conversation on the Finance Bill. /BELVA DIGITAL

18.7 percent of Kenyan users aired positive comments on Ruto compared to 57.3 percent who aired negative comments on him. 23.9 percent were neutral.

“Comments about the Presidents are notably more negative (57%) than those on the bill (40%). This is computed against 5M interactions looking at mentions of “William Ruto” and “Zakayo”,” the report obtained by Viral Tea read in part.

Ruto has been on the hot seat for the wrong reasons since the protests began, with remarks hinting at the government engaging the country’s Gen Zs on Sunday, June 23 doing little to de-escalate the protests.

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His address on Tuesday night, June 25 after the anti-Finance Bill protests turned chaotic served to intensify criticism against him, particularly since he stated that “legitimate” protests against his policies had been “hijacked by a group of organised criminals,” and that his government would use all means at its disposal to prevent a repeat of the violence – “at whatever cost”.

Despite announcing that he had conceded and refused to sign the Finance Bill 2024, the protests continued and the recent reported killings by police exposed his failure to honour his promise of eliminating extra-judicial killings in the country.

Meanwhile, the report captured the general tone of voice in the texts as one of anger, frustration, and determination in protesting against the Finance Bill 2024 and the government’s actions towards it.

“There are calls for resistance, accusations of dictatorship, and a sense of unity among the protestors,” it added.

Overall, there have been more than 31 million interactions, generating 713 million impressions across the public web over the course of the conversation regarding the Finance Bill.

Close to 40 percent of the conversation is negative, and only 22 percent is rated as positive. In contrast, there are 22 million Kenyans with access to the Internet.

Regarding social media apps, sentiments on LinkedIn were more positive than any other publisher website, with news platforms making up the majority of the negative sentiments, despite their commitment to factual reporting.

Among activists and influencers driving the conversation on the Finance Bill include Boniface Mwangi and Hanifa Adan, who have been very active in the anti-Finance Bill protests.

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Screengrab of activists and influencers driving conversation on the Finance Bill. /BELVA DIGITAL

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