Connect with us

News

Exposed: How Kenyan elections were influenced

Published

on

An undercover investigation has blown the lid off the workings of Cambridge Analytica, the British data company that was suspected and now boasts of influencing Kenya’s 2017 presidential election.

In a three-part series titled ‘Data, Democracy and Dirty Tricks’, Britain’s Channel 4 News exposes how the right-leaning digital marketing firm targets voters with propaganda to influence their voting decisions.

KENYATTA

In the investigation, the company’s bosses, including chief executive Alexander Nix, are secretly filmed saying they discreetly campaign in elections across the world through a web of shadowy front companies or by using sub-contractors.

The executives boast that Cambridge Analytica and its parent company, Strategic Communications Laboratories (SCL), have worked in more than 200 elections across the world, including Nigeria, Kenya, the Czech Republic, India and Argentina.

In the Kenyan propaganda campaign, Cambridge Analytica executives say they worked for the re-election of re-election of President Uhuru Kenyatta behind the scenes.

Mark Turnbull, the managing director of Cambridge Analytica’s Political Global, says they engineered a digital campaign that painted Mr Kenyatta in positive light while smearing his main rival Raila Odinga.

The smear campaign against Mr Odinga, which featured apocalyptic scenes, had one strong message:  “Stop Raila Save Kenya…….The Future of Kenya is in Your Hands.”

SEX WORKERS

The fake news and disinformation against Mr Odinga used skewed videos on issues that matter most to Kenyans— such as health, infrastructure, and terrorism.

In one such video, the Orange Democratic Movement leader is portrayed as a sympathiser of Al-Shabaab, the Somalia-based and Al-Qaeda-linked rag-tag militia that has declared war on Kenya.

And Turnbull, in the secret recording by Channel 4, reveals the much they delivered for the UhuRuto and Jubilee Party campaigns:

“The Kenyatta campaign which we ran in 2013 and 2017,” he starts off.

“And what have you done in Kenya?” poses Channel 4 journalist.

“We have rebranded the entire party twice, written their manifesto, done two rounds of 50,000 or so surveys… Then we’d write all the speeches, and we’d stage the whole thing. So just about every element of his campaign.”

Top achieve their goal, Cambridge Analytica executives say they use many tactics, including entrapping politicians in compromising situations with bribes and Ukrainian sex workers.

In one exchange with the undercover journalists, Nix says they “send some girls around to the candidate’s house” to dig up information on political opponents of their clients.

The company also offers to bribe politicians on camera and use such recordings against them.

BRIBES

“We’ll offer a large amount of money to the candidate, to finance his campaign in exchange for land for instance, we’ll have the whole thing recorded, we’ll blank out the face of our guy and we post it on the Internet,” Nix is quoted by Channel 4 as saying.

Bribery is a punishable offence under Kenya’s election laws.

Such damaging information is discreetly pushed into the internet and social, according to Turnbull, the managing director of Cambridge Analytica’s Political Global.

He tells Channel 4: “we just put information into the bloodstream of the internet, and then, and then watch it grow, give it a little push every now and again… like a remote control. It has to happen without anyone thinking, ‘that’s propaganda’, because the moment you think ‘that’s propaganda’, the next question is, ‘who’s put that out?’”.

And since most politicians fear being seen working with foreign companies in their campaigns, Cambridge Analystica says it uses people you could least suspect.

DENIAL

Nix says, “…we set up, if we are working then we can set up fake IDs and websites, we can be students doing research projects attached to a university, we can be tourists, there’s so many options we can look at. I have lots of experience in this.”

Channel 4 News said its reporter had posed as a fixer for a wealthy client hoping to get a political candidate elected in Sri Lanka.

However, Cambridge Analytica said the report had “grossly misrepresented” the conversations caught on camera.

“In playing along with this line of conversation, and partly to spare our ‘client’ from embarrassment, we entertained a series of ludicrous hypothetical scenarios,” the company said in a statement.

“Cambridge Analytica does not condone or engage in entrapment, bribes or so-called ‘honeytraps’,” it said.

Mr Nix told the BBC’s Newsnight programme that he regarded the report as a “misrepresentation of the facts” and said he felt the firm had been “deliberately entrapped”.

News

Kenyans To Stop Using National IDs and Replace with Huduma Number.

Published

on

ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru has announced that the government will phase out current National Identification cards by December 12, 2021.

The ICT CS has also added that the IDs will be replaced by Huduma Number where they will start to be issued on December 1, 2020.

The Cabinet Secretary was speaking in Machakos County during the commencement of issuance and distribution of Huduma Namba cards where the CS also stated that countrywide issuance of the Huduma Cards will commence on December 1, 2020.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and First Lady Margaret Kenyatta were handed samples of the new Huduma Number cards during the 11th Mashujaa Day, at the Gusii Stadium in Kisii County. The cards were handed over to the President and First Lady by Attorney General Paul Kihara.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and First Lady Margaret Kenyatta showcasing their Huduma Namba Cards.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and First Lady Margaret Kenyatta. Image Courtesy.

The Huduma Namba is expected to aggregate various government information sets ranging from NHIF, NSSF, birth details, driving license, KRA information, among others.

Children below the age of 18 will receive the Minors Huduma Namba Card while newborns will be required to be registered within 90 days after they are born and receive the cards upon attaining 6 years old where they will use it to enroll in school.

At time, the government had held it was ready to roll out the issuance of the cards but was awaiting the National Assembly to approve the appointment of a data commissioner, Immaculate Kassait. The former IEBC Director, Kassait was sworn in on Monday, November 16.

Continue Reading

News

Kenyan MPs Want Emergency Helicopters For Medical Evacuation.

Published

on

Following the death of Matungu MP Justus Murunga, which was blamed on the lack of oxygen in local hospitals, Members of Parliament have now demanded the house leadership to facilitate them with helicopters for evacuation in case of a medical emergency.

Hon. Justus Murungu collapsed on Saturday evening at his home in what was suspected to be Covid-19 complications after developing breathing difficulties.

The late MP was rushed to Matungu Sub-county Hospital in Kakamega County, where he was referred to St Mary’s Mission Hospital as he could not be admitted in the facility due to lack of oxygen. His conditioned worsened and succumbed while shuttling between the two facilities.

On Tuesday November 17, the National Assembly eulogised their colleague saying he could have survived had he received better healthcare promptly. Kwanza MP Ferdinand Wanyonyi said, “We are requesting and I have managed to talk to the Clerk of the National Assembly about this, that we be given a hotline number to helicopter services just in case.”

The MPs also pushed for suspension of hotel committee meetings to prevent spread of Covid-19 among MPs and that all meetings should be done within the Parliament premises as the rooms are sanitised regularly and observed by Ministry of Health officials.

National Assembly. Image Courtesy

National Assembly. Image Courtesy

Continue Reading

News

Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru Faces Eviction Over Ksh 44 Million Rent Arrears.

Published

on

Governor Anne Waiguru is fighting eviction from Ksh 80 Million Kitusuru House where she claims to be the rightful owner of the home.

The county boss on February went to court to challenge eviction notice from the landlord arguing she bought the house. Waiguru claims that she paid Ksh 40 million in cash for the house and had an agreement with a local bank to cover the balance of Ksh 40 million through a mortgage.

In the eviction notice, Kihingo Village Ltd, the developer inked a sale deal in September 2015 and asked Anne Waiguru to pay Ksh 80 million or vacate the property by February 29.

The former Devolution Cabinet Secretary claims Kihingo Village Ltd doesn’t have any right to evict her as she is the owner and not a tenant.

Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru, Image Courtesy.

Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru, Image Courtesy.

The developer has denied receiving payment from the governor saying she is a tenant and not the owner. The developer also claims the Governor has not paid rent for the last five years.

Kihingo Village Ltd, which is owned by ex-Tetu MP James Ndung’u Gethenji and his brother Gitahi Gethenji, wants Waiguru’s assets seized by auctioneers to pay for the rent accrued.

Justice Elijah Obaga issued temporary orders against the eviction and ordered the two parties to solve the rent dispute among themselves. Governor Waiguru through her lawyers has asked the court for permanent orders to halt the eviction.

The hearing has been scheduled for February 2021.

Continue Reading

News

Senators Reach Consensus To Approve Third Basis Revenue Sharing Formula.

Published

on

On Thursday, September 17, Senators unanimously voted to approve the third basis for sharing revenue among counties after a record 10 failed attempts to reach a consensus. All the 41 senators present in the House on the afternoon session voted to approve the formula.

From the proposed formula, no county loses revenue allocation.

The motion for approval of the Third Basis Formula for Revenue Allocation among County Governments has be carried. The Ayes 41, Abstention 0, Nays 0,” Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka announced.

The Moses Wetangula and Johnstone Sakaja chaired 12 member committee that was tasked with a win-win formula had reached a consensus on the formula and briefed the rest of the house before the official sitting.

Image

The proposed formula takes into account eight parameters; Basic share (20%), Population (18%), Health (17%), Poverty Level (14%), Agriculture (10%), Roads (8%), Land (8%) and Urban (5%).

In the new formula, Nairobi is the gains the highest amount with Ksh 3.3 billion. This will push it’s total allocation to Ksh 19 billion. Nakuru gains Ksh 2.5 billion, Kiambu Ksh 2.2 billion, Turkana Ksh 2 billion and Kakamega Ksh 1.9 billion. Tharaka Nithi is gaining the least amount of Ksh 289 million.

The Council of Governors through its Chairman Wycliffe Oparanya (Kakamega Governor) released a statement making a treat to shutdown operations in the counties stating it had been occasioned by lack of resources after senators failed to agree on the revenue sharing formula.

Continue Reading

News

Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi To Remain Behind Bars For Seven More Days.

Published

on

Oscar Kipchumba Sudi appeared before Nakuru Chief Magistrate Josephat Kalu on Wednesday, where he is charged with hate speech, offensive conduct, resisting arrest, being in unlawful possession of a firearm and assault of a police officer.

The legislator will now remain in police custody for 7 more days pending completion of investigations into allegations against him.

Sudi had already spent two days behind bars at the Nakuru Central police station pending a bail application ruling.

Before his arrest, the Kapseret MP insisted he had insulted no one and would not apologise.

Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi Photo Courtesy

The National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) and the police who are the prosecutors made an application in court seeking to hold Sudi for 14 days to conclude investigation. The prosecution said the MP is a flight risk having failed to surrender himself soon after he learnt he was being sought by the police. These claims were opposed by the accused lawyers who include Gladys Shollei(Uasin Gishu Women Representative) and Kipkoech Ng’etich.

Some leaders came to show solidarity with Sudi at the Nakuru law Courts. The leaders present included Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen and Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika, MPs Kimani Ngunjiri, Aisha Jumwa (Malindi), William Cheptumo (Baringo North), Charles Kamuren (Baringo south) and Caleb Kositany (Soi).

Continue Reading

Trending