AU High Representative for Infrastructure and ODM leader Raila Odinga has torn Cambridge Analytica into pieces over the role it played in Kenya’s 2017 polls. Cambridge Analytica was shut down by the UK government in May 2018 for its involvement in a number of illegal activities and elections in a number of countries across the globe, Kenya included.
While speaking in London’s Chatham House on Monday, Raila said he was a direct victim of Cambridge Analytica’s illegal activities and spread of false information plus fake news which targeted the Kenyan public with the soul intention of tainting his image. The UK company was badly exposed for committing various offenses including mining data and private information of Facebook users and use the information to spread propaganda as well as influence election outcomes.
” I have been a victim of these fake news. The international community has failed to rein in them,” Raila told participants at Chatham House.Cambridge Analytica were running a platform where anytime you opened a page you would see my picture there with very negative stories. Once the campaigns were over, you could not see those pages, making it difficult to seek legal redress, ” Odinga said.
Raila, who was giving a keynote address on the legacy of Koffi Anaan said Raila said Cambridge Analytica, which specialises in data analysis, helped hijack Kenya’s democracy. He recalled how voters were fed with apocalyptic messages that painted him as the leader into darkness, who would bring violence and corruption.
Cambridge Analytica was owned by Robert Mercer, tech-savvy, hedge-fund billionaire, computer scientist and an early adopter of artificial intelligence. Mercer, who also owns the SCL Group, is a well-connected Republican donor who is friends with among many others, British politician and leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP).
Cambridge Analytica worked with President Uhuru Kenyatta in the 2013 and 2017 elections. According to an exposé on Channel 4, the company’s Managing Director Mark Turnbull was recorded saying that the company rebranded both The National Alliance and Jubilee parties, conducted research on behalf of the Kenyatta campaign and wrote Jubilee’s manifestos and speeches.