The Role of Mobile Phone Technology in Resolving Communal Conflicts in Mandera County, Kenya
Eymoi, Mohamed Ibrahim
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The unprecedented global adoption of information and communication technologies (ICTs) is rapidly changing the way people are communicating in solving problems. For several years now, the role of ICTs has become important in the way people construct their relationships in conflict resolution. Yet little is known on the dynamism of this interaction. It is not clear how mobile technology has contributed toward conflict resolution, and this study will contribute to the knowledge on the role of mobile telephones in conflict resolution. The purpose of this study was to explore how the mobile phone technology contributed in resolving communal conflicts in Mandera County, Kenya. This study was guided by three theories: conflict transformation theory, diffusion of innovations theory and social representation theory. The conflict Tansformation Theory is adopted as the main theory of analysis. The main idea of this theory is transforming negative conflict into constructive conflict, deals with structural, behavioural and attitudinal aspects of conflict. This study adopted a descriptive survey. The population for this study consisted of 301 employees in ICT and security department where stakeholders in technology and security sectors and the public. Primary and secondary data was analysed according to the objectives. Primary data was derived from questionnaires formulated to target employees in ICT and security department. The data analysis included qualitative and quantitative techniques. Qualitative data was summarized and categorized according to common themes and was presented using frequency distribution tables, graphs and charts. Content analysis was used mostly to arrive at inferences through a systematic and objective identification of the specific messages. The quantitative data collected was analyzed using descriptive statistics. The results confirmed that short message service, social media plateform, instant messaging applications, and video conferencing play a role in resolving communal conflicts in Mandera County. The study concludes that Short Message Service, Social Media Platforms and Instant Messaging Applications can be used conflict such as communal conflicts. Video Conferencing can be used to solve conflict such as relationship conflict, arises from differences in personality, style, matters of taste, and even conflict style as well as conflict in the workplace like task conflict. County government of Mandera must come up with ways of incorporating mobile phone technologies such as Short Message Service, Social Media Platforms, Instant Messaging and Video Conferencing on matters conflict resolution. The study recommends that the County Government of Mandera in collaboration with the National Government need to come up with agencies to regulate the use of social media as a medium to communicate in times of conflict since they are sometimes prone to misuse.