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Newspaper Visibility of Members of Parliament in Kenya
Unformatted Document Text:  NEWSPAPER VISIBILITY OF MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT IN KENYA 12 Kalenjin (4.9 million); Luo (4.0 million); and Kamba (3.8 million) are the largest tribes (Ndegwa, 2010). Eight cabinet ministers are among the top-10 lawmakers – and of these, seven hold powerful ministerial dockets. There are six MPs affiliated with the two major parties – three apiece for Orange Democratic Party (ODM) and the Party of National Unity (PNU). Of remaining two legislators, one is an ordinary MP and the other is the chairman of Public Accounts Committee (PAC), the most powerful parliamentary committee. See Appendix 2 for the complete list of the 10-most covered MPs. The seven legislators who did not receive any coverage are ordinary MPs and except one, all are newcomers in parliament. Question 2 asked about the strongest predictors of the lawmakers’ coverage in the newspapers. A multiple regression analysis of the ten independent variables shows that commenting on contentious issues, being a cabinet minister, criticizing the government and being a member of a big tribe are the strongest predictors of the MPs’ visibility. As Table 1 indicates, commenting on contentious issues, for example, constitutional reforms, corruption, and evictions of people illegally settled in Mau forest is the strongest predictor (beta = .465, p < .05). Being a member of a big tribe is the weakest among the four most-powerful predictors. Table 1: Multiple Regression Analysis of the Strongest Visibility Predictors Variable Beta Statistical Significance Commenting on contentious issue .465 <.001 Cabinet minister .325 <.001 Criticizing government .274 <.001 Big tribe .094 <.05 Cabinet Minister and Powerful Ministry Of the 212 MPs, 40 were cabinet ministers. The ministers heading powerful ministries were 11. As Table 2 shows, out of the 40 ministers, 27 are in the high quartile of MPs’ total appearance in the newspaper news. This means that two thirds of the cabinet is in the high division of MPs’ visibility. Ten out of the 11 powerful ministers are in the high quartile. The remaining one is in the moderately low category and he is from a small tribe. The two variables

Authors: Ireri, Kioko.
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NEWSPAPER VISIBILITY OF MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT IN KENYA 12
Kalenjin (4.9 million); Luo (4.0 million); and Kamba (3.8 million) are the largest tribes (Ndegwa, 
2010). Eight cabinet ministers are among the top-10 lawmakers – and of these, seven hold 
powerful ministerial dockets. There are six MPs affiliated with the two major parties – three 
apiece for Orange Democratic Party (ODM) and the Party of National Unity (PNU). Of remaining 
two   legislators,   one   is   an   ordinary   MP   and   the   other   is   the   chairman   of   Public   Accounts 
Committee   (PAC),   the   most   powerful   parliamentary   committee.   See   Appendix   2   for   the 
complete  list  of the 10-most  covered  MPs.  The seven  legislators  who  did  not receive  any 
coverage are ordinary MPs and except one, all are newcomers in parliament.
Question 2 asked about the strongest predictors of the lawmakers’ coverage in the 
newspapers.   A   multiple   regression   analysis   of   the   ten   independent   variables   shows   that 
commenting on contentious issues, being a cabinet minister, criticizing the government and 
being a member of a big tribe are the strongest predictors of the MPs’ visibility. As Table 1 
indicates, commenting on contentious issues, for example, constitutional reforms, corruption, 
and evictions of people illegally settled in Mau forest is the strongest predictor (beta = .465, p 
< .05). Being a member of a big tribe is the weakest among the four most-powerful predictors. 
Table 1: Multiple Regression Analysis of the Strongest Visibility Predictors
Variable
Beta
Statistical 
Significance
Commenting on contentious issue
.465
<.001
Cabinet minister
.325
<.001
Criticizing government
.274
<.001
Big tribe
.094
<.05
Cabinet Minister and Powerful Ministry
Of the 212 MPs, 40 were cabinet ministers. The ministers heading powerful ministries 
were 11. As Table 2 shows, out of the 40 ministers, 27 are in the high quartile of MPs’ total  
appearance in the newspaper news. This means that two thirds of the cabinet is in the high 
division of MPs’ visibility. Ten out of the 11 powerful ministers are in the high quartile. The 
remaining one is in the moderately low category and he is from a small tribe. The two variables 


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