popular words in kenya 2017

Kenya’s 35 Most Popular Words and Phrases In 2017

The year 2017 was characterized by endless politicking, with the country undergoing two elections. Even with all the tension, Kenyans managed to pull off some sense of humor, especially on the social media, and in the process come up with some household words and phrases. Here is a look back at some of the most memorable words and phrases in 2017, political and apolitical, in a random order.

  1. Tibim – The slogan “Tibim” is a hallmark of the NASA party. It was brought to the limelight by Embakasi West MP, Babu Owino. Babu initially used the slogan during his reign as the president of Student Organization of Nairobi University (SONU), but it would later be adopted by NASA.
  2. Kumira Kumira – Jubilee supporters used the term “Kumira kumira” as a way to mobilize each other to come out and vote during each of the two presidential elections held in 2017.
  3. NASA Hao – Musalia Mudavadi is credited with coining the phrase, “NASA hao” which translates to “Catch them.”
  4. We shall revisit – When the Supreme Court nullified the presidential elections held on August 8th, the enraged president Kenyatta said that the jubilee party accepted the ruling, but they would revisit the ruling in parliament later on and with that the phrase “we shall revisit” dominated the media for the majority of the remaining part of the year.
  5. Form 34A – IEBC’s form 34A is used to fill the results of presidential elections at the grassroots level – polling stations – and as such the term featured prominently during the presidential elections petitions at the supreme court.
  6. Tuko ndaani, ndaani, ndaani kabisa!! – This phrase was made famous by KANU’s Secretary General, Nick Salat, during the launch of the National Super Alliance (NASA) party in Uhuru Park, Nairobi. The phrase became so popular that Nick Salat sought to patent it.
  7. The law is clear.
  8. Boy Child – Cyprian Nyakundi is perhaps best remembered for his legal tussle with Safaricom CEO, Bob Collymore. Perhaps in a bit to rekindle his social media presence, Cyprian was to later start a twitter hashtag #boychild with the purported goal of “protecting the boychild against slay queens.”
  9. Resist – The term was largely used by NASA supporters in relation to the coalition’s move to rally its supporters to boycott the products of certain companies, including Safaricom, Brookside, Equity, and Bidco.
  10. Wakirusha tunarusha, wakihesabu tunahesabu.
  11. Wakiapisha tunaapisha.
  12. SGR.
  13. Canaan.
  14. Tano tena.
  15. Minji minji.
  16. Vifaranga vya computer.
  17. Yaliyo ndwele sipite.
  18. Team thuraku – refer to (2) above. The term had deep traction in Kiambu County and the larger Mount Kenya region for the same reason as “kumira kumira.”
  19. Slay queen – The term “Slay Queen” came to prominence in 2017 as a reference for beautiful women who live a fake life, usually depicting opulent lifestyle on their social media accounts. Think of the “fake it till you make it” kind of thought.
  20. Nusu mkate hakuna.
  21. Fungueni server.
  22. No reform no elections.
  23. Irreducible minimums.
  24. Wembe ni ule ule.
  25. Boycott.
  26. Wakora network.
  27. Supreme court/Maraga.
  28. Business community.
  29. Tialala.
  30. Ngoja tuone vile elections zitaenda.
  31. Mashakura.
  32. Yule mzee.
  33. Yule jamaa wa vitendawili.
  34. Chilobae.
  35. Utajua hujui.

Is there any popular word or phrase from 2017 that you think should be included in this list? Please add it by leaving a comment below.


  1. I don’t know if you want to include names of people in that list, but if you do – which would be a great break from politics – Goldalyn would be a great choice. She overcame her physical disability, albinism, to emerge top of KCPE 2017.

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