Language and Political Messaging in Electoral Processes: A Literary Examination of Trends in Kenya’s 2022 and Uganda’s 2021 Elections
Competitive politics is a game of numbers. Candidates often employ various strategies to secure victory. One of the strategies politicians employ is the meticulous use of language to give voters lofty promises and paint their opponents negatively while projecting themselves as messiahs. This paper argues that Language and Literature play critical roles in electoral processes. The two disciplines are conjoined twins in political campaign messaging as they shape opinions in specific predetermined ways by manipulating information and delivering it in an informative, targeted, and exciting manner. This area is yet to be subjected to extensive research to establish the nexus between Literature and Linguistics and communicative approaches deployed by competing groups. The paper interrogates the extent to which opposing political campaigns in Kenya and Uganda exploited strategic communication, mainly linguistic and literary resources, to give impetus to their campaigns. Specifically, we study the slogans and other targeted messages used to gain an advantage over opponents. This exploratory study seeks to ramp up interdisciplinary collaboration between Political Science, Literature and Linguistics. The study commences by discussing the place of strategic communication in political campaigns and the consequent connection between Linguistics and Literature. The paper proceeds to discuss the methodology employed in data collection, analysis and findings of the study. The paper concludes by pointing out opportunities for future research.