WAR Metaphor Strategies in Expressing COVID-19 Messages in Presidential Speeches in Kenya in 2020


  • John Habwe University of Nairobi, Kenya
  • Mary Ndung’u




WAR, Metaphor, Presidential, Speeches, Conceptual, COVID-19


Since the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Kenya, the President of the Republic of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, addressed the nation on a regular basis regarding the spread of COVID-19 and the containment measures meant to slow down its spread. In Kenyatta’s speeches, there were many metaphors used. A substantial amount of which were WAR metaphors. This paper investigates some of the WAR metaphors that were used in the presidential speeches with a view to establishing why they were dominant. Data for this study were collected from You-Tube from March to December 2020 and later transcribed and analyzed qualitatively. The study was guided by the Conceptual Metaphor Theory (CMT) proposed by Lakoff and Johnson (1980). The study found out that WAR metaphors were used essentially to warn, caution, inform, encourage, rally, and reassure the Kenyan people. Most important, the metaphors were used in the oversimplification of information that was relayed to the people of Kenya in the management of COVID -19 The metaphors used were largely drawn from the Kenyan socio-cultural environment thus making them easy for Kenyan people to understand.

Author Biography

Mary Ndung’u

PhD holder in Linguistics.


Department of Kiswahili

Universty of Nairobi



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Habwe et al WAR Metaphor Strategies




How to Cite

Habwe, J. ., & Ndung’u, M. . (2022). WAR Metaphor Strategies in Expressing COVID-19 Messages in Presidential Speeches in Kenya in 2020. Ghana Journal of Linguistics, 11(2), 74–96. https://doi.org/10.4314/gjl.v11i2.441