#LowerFoodPrices: Origin of top trending hashtag that has united Kenyans

Social media hashtag unites Kenyans in taking up a more active role in governance

President Uhuru Kenyatta

February 20 saw a simple yet firm message unite Kenyans online, in a year when the country is headed to a General Election and a changeover in administration.

The message was carried in a hashtag that seemed to appeal to Kenyans of all walks of life, #LowerFoodPrices.

In a matter of hours, Kenyans online had permeated the internet with a resounding call to the country's Head of State - this time refusing to be ignored.

From various top and verified social media accounts to ordinary citizens, Kenyans asserted their position and specifically asked President Uhuru Kenyatta to address their plight.

By the end of the day, the hashtag had gained overtones, with the most prominent one being calls for a civil boycott of the upcoming elections.

The hashtag also seemed to have been hijacked by UDA's online campaigners, some of whom used it to cast accusations on the Uhuru administration.

President Kenyatta has been out of the country attending the 6th African Union (AU) - European Union (EU) Summit in Brussels, Belgium. He left the country after February 12, and made a stop in Dubai, U.A.E. before proceeding to Europe.

In the week starting February 21, President Kenyatta is set to host a political meeting dubbed 'Sagana 3' - after the Sagana State Lodge in Nyeri County - and is expected to officially 'get into campaign mode' at the forum.

Through the trending hashtag, Kenyans have called for a shift from politicking within government to actions in addressing the economic constraints faced by its citizens.

#LowerFoodPrices was first posted by a financial consultant by the name Zeth Kipsigei who wrote on Twitter: "Mr President Uhuru Kenyatta, as you plan for Sagana 3, are you aware that: 5 ltrs cooking oil - Sh1350, 2kgs sugar - Sh285, 400 grams of bread - Sh60. Most Kenyans cannot afford 3 meals a day #LowerFoodPrices."

As the day progressed, more Kenyans hopped on board and, eventually, they littered posts by media houses and prominent politicians with the hashtag.

Here are more posts from the trending hashtag:-

To a parenting group on Facebook, a user identified as Christine Ndesh posted: "Make it trend. The highest cost of living is unbearable. #lowerfoodprices," making it one of the highest trending posts on the platform.

Another trending Facebook post came from a United Democratic Alliance (UDA) campaigner Martha Miano, who is verified on the platform. She posted: "If you can afford a meal every day. You are among the lucky few. #lowerfoodprices"

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