Kenya: Data firm under fire over role in 2017 polls

Opposition calls for investigation after Cambridge Analytica boasts of role it played in controversial 2017 elections

Kenya: Data firm under fire over role in 2017 polls

World Bulletin / News Desk

Already under scrutiny in Britain and America, controversial data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica is facing fire in Kenya over its management boasting of the role it played in last year’s hotly contested Kenyan polls. 

Norman Magaya, the CEO of the opposition's National Super Alliance, told Anadolu Agency that immediate investigations should follow the release of a video on British TV showing Cambridge officials telling how they played a major role in the outcome of the 2017 general elections. 

“The truth must be uncovered,” said Magaya.

In the video footage, Mark Turnbull, the managing director of Cambridge Analytica’s political division, says: “We have rebranded the entire party twice, written their manifesto, done two rounds of 50,000 surveys… Then we’d write all the speeches and we’d stage the whole thing. So just about every element of his campaign.”

Edwin Sifuna the opposition secretary general, said in a statement that he wants the ruling Jubilee Party “to come clean and explain the role” of Cambridge Analytica in last year's campaigns “as part of the healing process.”

“To protect our nascent democracy from such foreign political mercenaries i.e. Cambridge Analytica, it may be desirable to curtail or ban through legislation, their involvement in our politics," he added.

Last year President Uhuru Kenyatta clinched a second term in office, but only after the result of the August election was annulled, leading to a second poll in October that was boycotted by the opposition as Kenya's election authority said it could not guarantee free and fair polls.

A source from Kenya’s Foreign Ministry who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media told Anadolu Agency: "We are treating this matter seriously but for now we have to wait for the investigations to be done before pointing fingers."

The Jubilee Party has confirmed that it did hire Cambridge, saying through its Vice Chair David Murathe: "They were basically branding and all that but not directly."

In a possibly related story, Kenya's Star newspaper reported on Wednesday that Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie said his predecessor in Kenya was found dead in a hotel room. He said the man, Dan Muresan, was working for Kenyatta during 2013 polls before his death under “unclear” circumstances.

 

Last Mod: 21 Mart 2018, 18:21
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