Pamela Chepngetich is currently a lecturer at the faculty of Information Science & Technology at Kisii University, Kenya. Dr. Chepngetich holds a PhD in Media Studies from the University of Bayreuth, Germany, where she was a junior fellow at the Bayreuth International Graduate School of African Studies (BIGSAS). Her doctoral thesis there focused on the representation and self-representation of refugees in Kenya’s Daadab Refugee Camp. Her research interests are in representation, photography, social media and online activism as well as radio ethnography. Presently, her APN research probes how radio fan clubs are convened, and how they (un)consciously play a role in peace building in Western Kenya.
'Building Peace through Radio': Radio Fan Clubs, 'Collective Responsibility' and Post-Conflict Healing in Eldoret, Kenya Pamela Chepngetich Moi University, Kenya Introduction The post election violence that followed Kenya's disputed elections in 2007 highlighted the conflicted role that the media plays in such 'complex social and political contexts.' Indeed, alongside several high profile politicians, a radio journalist was part of a group of six Kenyans that faced criminal charges at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Although these charges were eventually dropped for lack of evidence, it brought to the fore the crucial role of the media insofar as violence in Kenya and the region is concerned. In 2007, the cosmopolitan city of Eldoret was the epicenter of much of the violence which essentially pitted rival ethnic groups against each other. As the violence in the outskirts of the city increased, the city's Catholic Church became the unofficial centre for thousands internally displaced people. After peace broke out, and IDPs settled in designated areas, and a political settlement was reached to form a grand-coalition, the Catholic Diocese in Eldoret found itself at the vanguard of not only reconstructing peace in its environs, but also of bringing previously warring communities together. To better achieve its aims, the Catholic Church specifically set up a Radio Station called Upendo FM (Swahili for Love) , whose express mandate it was to be a tool of the reconstructive peace efforts in Eldoret Town. The relationship between Radio and conflict in Africa has been the subject of much scholarly research, from genocidal conflict (Staruss, 2007) to violence linked to election disputes (Howard, 2009)). At the heart of these debates, there is a feeling that media is either culpable of fanning violence, or is simply isolated for blame in social and political contexts already predisposed to violence (Frere, 2009). The literature on the role of the media in the study of conflict in Africa has thus c