The Manifestation of Ideology in the Metaphors used by Kenyan Politician Raila Odinga

[1] University of Nairobi, Department of Linguistics and
Languages, Kenya, E-mail:;

[2] Professor Emeritus, University of Nairobi, Department of Linguistics and Languages, Kenya, E-mail:


Ideologies are shared via language. Language on the other hand, forms the raw material for dispensing ideology since it is invested by ideology, (Fairclough, 1995:73). According to Wodak (2021), the manifestation of ideology in language is evident in metaphors as well as other forms of linguistic features like lexical meanings, presuppositions, implicatures and coherence. Ideological discourses could be political, religious, economic or social. CMT with reference to Lakoff and Johnson (1980/2003), advanced by Kovecses (2002, 2009, 2010, 2020) have been used for analysis. This paper analyses metaphors that depict the ideology of the popular Kenyan Politician Raila Odinga.  His political discourse especially during general elections is characterized by metaphoric language. The key argument in this paper is that, metaphors could manifest ideologies in discourse. Findings indicate that Raila Odinga uses varied metaphors presented in four ideological concepts namely: the socio-democratic ideology; the ideology of conflicts; the savior ideology and the ideology of fear. The socio-democratic ideology projects Raila’s organization of all leaders from various political parties under one coalition that front him as the presidential candidate. The philosophy of solidarity is that all political parties and their leaders have an equal chance to proof themselves as suited for the top seat. Also, Raila projects Kenya in a socio-economic crises and he presents himself as the savior. He therefore calls himself the savior via the biblical Joshua’s metaphor. The one who successfully led the children of Israel to the land flowing with milk and honey. He also spells fear to his opponents once elected in office and he projects the ideology of fear via weather pattern metaphor. He talks of dark clouds, heavy rains and a cyclone that would spell doom for opponents. This paper is a single case study, which is extracting practical data in solving human made phenomena. It is acceptable in the social science and science disciplines. In depth verbatim data has been analyzed both at the surface and deep level to explain how metaphors manifest ideology in the contemporary Kenyan political context, (Zainal 2007; Schoch 2020).

Keywords: Election, solidarity, coalition, conflict, fear


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