Analysis of Kenya’s newspaper headlines: The handshake and shifting political alliances


Ngumo, Mugambi C.


Department of Humanities, University of Embu, P.O Box 6-60100, Embu, Kenya


Omoke, Lillian K.


Department of Humanities, University of Embu, P.O Box 6-60100, Embu, Kenya


It has been argued that mainstream media serves the interests of the powerful, the ruling class, and the elite. However, how this is specifically done in Kenya’s media landscape may not be clear unless a critical analysis is undertaken. This article seeks to fill this gap by examining the ideologies engendered by shifting political alliances in Kenya. By borrowing from van Dijk, the article embarks on a macro- and microstructure analysis of two of Kenya’s leading newspapers’ headlines. Guided by CDA, the article examines forty headlines during the pre- and post-handshake periods. At the macro-structure level, the article argues that conflict is the key thematic concern of the headlines. Majorly, only three politicians consistently feature in the headlines. Thus, through exclusion, other politicians and ordinary Kenyans have no role in the nation’s political discourse. Patriarchal dominance in political discourse is also exhibited as women are similarly excluded from the main headlines. A critical examination of lexical choices, and how social actors are represented, also reveals that while there is a radical shift in alliances, ideologies remain fairly stable.


handshake; headlines; political actors; ideology; political alliances; Critical Discourse Analysis

Publication Date

June 28, 2021


Volume 8, Issue 1

Citation information

Ngumo, Mugambi C., and Lillian K. Omoke. 2021. “Analysis of Kenya’s newspaper headlines: The handshake and shifting political alliances.” Language. Text. Society 8 (1).


author = {Ngumo, Mugambi C. and Lillian K. Omoke},
journal = {Language. Text. Society},
title = {Analysis of Kenya’s newspaper headlines: The handshake and shifting political alliances},
year = {2021},
issn = {2687-0487},
number = {1},
volume = {8},
url = {},


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