Linguistic Features in Post Handshake Speeches of President Uhuru Kenyatta and the Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga in Kenya

  • Patrick Kioko Kimenye
  • Anashia Nancy Ong’onda
  • Vifu Makoti
Keywords: political discourse, linguistic features, handshake, building bridges initiatives, critical discourse analysis


Political discourse is one of language domains that has attracted the interests of researchers for a long while. This is because political discourse is a complex human activity that deserves critical study particularly because of its central place in the organization and management of society. The political system in Kenya is prone to conflicts and show of power that is usually common during campaigns. This study investigates linguistics features of selected political speeches of President Uhuru and Honourable Raila Odinga in Kenya after the handshake on 9th March 2018 as pieces of discourse through the framework of critical discourse analysis as propounded by Fairclough (1989, 1993, and 1995). The research design for the study was descriptive research design. A sample size of 20 speeches was selected using the down sampling technique. The study was a desktop research and therefore the method of collecting data was through a checklist. The analysis of linguistic features of speech acts revealed that leaders in post handshake speeches use language uniquely to construct a certain ideology. The findings of the study demonstrate how lexical items, textual features, modality and use of rhetoric questions were used as a form persuasive process to represent the idea of handshake and building bridges initiatives.