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DID RUSSIA INTERFERE IN KENYA’S ELECTION?

BRITISH NEWSPAPER REPORTS CONCERN AT ‘KREMLIN DIRTY TRICKS’

Hot on the heels of allegations that Russia tried to interfere in the 2016 US elections and the ‘Brexit’ referendum in Britain (when the UK voted to leave the European Union), The Times newspaper (UK) has published allegations that Russia spread disinformation during Kenya’s elections held in August of this year.

Did both Kenyatta and Odinga election teams run disinformation campaigns?

The Times also suggests that both Uhuru Kenyatta’s and Raila Odinga’s campaigns may have run fake news and disinformation campaigns.

According to The Times the British Foreign Office and ‘other government departments’ were concerned at was termed a “Russian connection” but were not specific as to what the connection entailed other than that Russia had been connected to anti-British propaganda in the run up to Kenya’s election.

However, The Times‘ report also said that the British Foreign Office thought that some of the disinformation originated from the leading campaigns in Kenya.

FAKE NEWS AND WEBSITES

The report says some of the propaganda was distributed via fake websites such as the Foreign Policy Journal and another called CNN Channel 1. The false stories were also apparently spread through Twitter hashtags, paid Google searches and sponsored advertisements and posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

According to The Times,  the fake news and disinformation campaign came largely from western Public Relations firms and strategists employed by both kenyatta’s and Odinga’s campaigns.

Uhuru Kenyatta’s election team are said to have hired a company called Cambridge Analytica based in London which had worked on Donald Trump’s campaign.. Kenyatta’s campaign also recruited another UK company, BTP Advisers.

Raila Oding’a campaign, meanwhile, are reported to have engaged the services of a US political campaigns consultancy, Aristotle.

ANTI-WESTERN SENTIMENT

The Times reports that anti-British sentiment increased in Kenya after international election observes gave Kenya’s August 8th election a clean bill of health as being free and fair.

Later, the newspaper suggests, Raila Odinga’s supporters were angered by British High Commissioner Nic Hailey for making a statement with other ambassadors calling for a second election when Odinga had pulled out of the second poll. #EnvoysofDoom immediately trended in Kenya accusing the western diplomats of backing Kenyatta. Other Twitter accounts called for Hailey and US Ambassador Robert Rodec to leave Kenya.

Kenya has over 44 million people with access to mobile technology and one of the fastest internet speeds in the world, which The Times says greatly assisted the dissemination of the fake news and disinformation campaigns during the election.

 

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