Influence of radio on women voters’ political knowledge on the 2013 Kenyan general election
Thomas Ibrahim Okinda, Charles Ongandi Nyambuga, Benson Oduor Ojwang
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Prior research reveals a positive correlation between citizens’ radio exposure and political knowledge in Africa. However, little is known about the connection between women voters’ radio exposure and political knowledge during elections in Kenya. This study, therefore, examines the influence of radio on women voters’ political knowledge on the 2013 general election within the setting of Kakamega County, western Kenya. The research is anchored on uses and gratifications theory and knowledge gap theory. It builds on scholars’ recommendations on using local, national, and gender-relevant political questions to link women’s radio exposure and political knowledge. This study adopted a descriptive quantitative correlational survey collecting data from 372 women voters using an interviewer-administered questionnaire. The results reveal medium to high radio exposure and low political knowledge among women voters. Radio exposure explained 22.6% of the positive variance in women voters’ political knowledge. Consequently, radio contributes to political learning and this has implications for political stakeholders in Kenya. They should harness the potential of radio to reach and enrich women’s political knowledge. This article provides directions for future research on the influence of radio exposure on women’s political knowledge and subsequently electoral participation under Kenya’s new devolved political system.