Tanzania: Running for Office While Combining Kangas With Social Media

Tanzania will go to the polls on October 30, 2010. As our author J. Nambiza Tungaraza pointed out in his post, “The Use of Social Media in 2010 Tanzania Elections,” presidential candidates and parliamentary candidates are actively using social media to connect with voters.

Danish blogger Pernille Bærendtsen looks at the use of traditional elements and social media in Tanzania election campaigns focusing on Zitto Kabwe, the parliamentary candidate for Kigoma North. Her post is titled “Running for Office (While Combining Kangas and Social Media). Kanga is a piece of printed cotton fabric worn by women and occasionally by men throughout Eastern Africa.

She writes:

The fact that Zitto Kabwe is reporting via Twitter, blog, Flickr and Facebook from Kigoma North, while at the same time operating an election campaing with traditional elements – like the ngoma and the kanga – is a clear fact of Africa 2010.

It is not strange that Zitto has been using social media as part of his campaign strategy. He is one of the youngest members of parliament. He is a trained economist and he chairs a Parliamentary standing committee on Public Investments.

A woman wearing a kanga with a photo of Zitto Kabwe. Photo by Pernille Bærendtsen

Pernille notes that the use of Kanga and social media by Zitto Kabwe is a sign of “An Africa in between tradition and modernity. An Africa, we in the north gradually are realising is changing.”

Zitto regularly tweets in both English and Swahili on his account, ZittoKabwe and also posts links to videos posted online of campaign activities. It was recently rumored that he was involved in a car accident. He dismissed the rumor on Twitter:

Am alive and well and in Kahama please ignore the malicious rumour going round that I've been involved in an accident

On October 13, 2010 he complained about police presence in political rallies:

What is saw in Musoma today, police fully armed, is alarming. Tuwe makini sana na huu uchaguzi. Peace defines this nation jamani!

On the same day he posted a link to a campaign video on YouTube:

Video Clips ya Ziara ya Kumnadi Vincent Josephat Nyerere -Jimbo La Musoma Mjini: http://wp.me/pRboX-dU

Video Clips of campaign for Vincent Josephat Nyerere – Musoma Mjini Constitutency

October 14, 2010 he wrote:

In Isaka township. This port is very inactive, joblessness and hopelessness amongst youths.

His blog, Zitto na Demokrasia (Zitto and Democracy) is full of campaign photos and videos from his constituency and other constituencies in Kigoma region where his party (Chadema) has candidates. Other photos are posted on his Flickr account. His YouTube account has 69 videos.

For more examples of how politicians in Tanzania use social media in the election campaigns, read Tungaraza's post on the subject.


  • It is Electeion day tomorrow here in Tanzania, and we are all praying that everything goes well and peacefully. Most Tanzanians are worried, and they have evry right to be so. However, this is the time that Tanzanians can show the world that, we have always been a peaceful country and we can always sustain that if we choose to do so. ”Dawa ni kupiga kura”, let us all go and vote and elect the leader that demonstrate committment, dedication and love to this country, no need to fight among each other. Believe me, fujo will hurt sisi wanyonge na si viongozi wetu, so let us be wise jamani.

    We are praying for peace and true democracy, haki kwa kila mtu.


  • […] year Danish blogger Pernille Bærendtsen looked at the use of traditional elements and social media in Tanzania election campaigns focusing on Zitto Kabwe. Written by J. Nambiza Tungaraza […]

  • […] year Danish blogger Pernille Bærendtsen looked at the use of traditional elements and social media in Tanzania election campaigns focusing on Zitto […]

  • […] also read Global Voices’ article from October 19 2010: ‘Tanzania: Running for Office While Combining Kangas With Social Media’. LD_AddCustomAttr("AdOpt", "1"); LD_AddCustomAttr("Origin", "other"); […]

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