Kenya elections: 280 organisations petition Kenyatta to ensure no internet interference | News24

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta


  • A coalition of greater than 280 organisations has written to Kenya’s president, asking that the web not be shut down throughout elections.
  • Kenya’s constituency, county and presidential elections will get beneath approach on 9 August.
  • In a report, the Mozilla Foundation stated TikTok was the most recent frontier of abuse forward of the elections.

A coalition of greater than 280 organisations from 105 international locations has written to President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya to ensure that there can be no interference with the web throughout the normal elections.

The election on 9 August will search to determine the nation’s fifth president. Kenyatta, 60, has chosen to rally behind political journeyman Raila Amolo Odinga, 77, from the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM).

Odinga is Kenyatta’s chosen successor forward of his deputy, William Ruto, from the ruling United Democratic Party.

Due to the high-stakes election and historic experiences, calls have been made for “communication channels [to] remain free, open, secure, inclusive and accessible before, during, and after the general election”.

“As the people of Kenya prepare to vote for their representatives across the country’s 290 constituencies and 47 counties, it is essential that your government adopts and prioritise[s] measures to ensure that the election process is inclusive, free, and fair by providing everyone with unfettered access to information and avenues for free expression, assembly, and association – both offline and online,” the group stated in an handle to Kenyatta.

Once bitten, twice shy

Kenya’s August 2017 elections had been marred by violence, together with killings and beatings by police throughout protests and house-to-house operations within the nation’s western areas.

At the time, Human Rights Watch stated that not less than 12 individuals had been killed and greater than 100 badly injured in a single incident.

On 11 August 2017, following the announcement of Kenyatta’s election victory, opposition supporters of Odinga protested by chanting “Uhuru (Kenyatta) must go” in Nairobi, Coast Province, and the western counties of Kisumu, Siaya, Migori, and Homa Bay.

READ | Four running for president in Kenya’s election

Police responded with extreme pressure in lots of areas, taking pictures and beating protesters in Nairobi and western Kenya, finishing up abusive house-to-house operations, and interfering with the web.

The organisations have warned towards a repeat of 2017.

“For example, during the 2007 elections, authorities gave themselves control over the flow of information by imposing a ban on live broadcasts, leading some broadcasters to suspend news coverage of the disputed elections.

“Again, following the extremely contested 2017 normal election, the federal government carried out a seven-day shutdown of most main tv retailers, impeding the opposition’s plans to hold out a parallel presidential swearing-in ceremony. Also, the federal government ignored courtroom orders to revive the affected media stations, claiming the blocking was essential to facilitate investigations into subverting and overthrowing the lawfully elected authorities,” they said.

Information and disinformation

In a recent report on the internet as a factor in the Kenyan elections, the Mozilla Foundation said TikTok had turned “from dance [application] to political mercenary”, which has fuelled political tensions.

The report acknowledged that whereas Twitter and Facebook had been monitored, politically inclined customers on TikTok had been working largely unscrutinised.

READ MORE | Election influencers for hire: Kenya’s disinformation factories

“TikTok has largely gone under-scrutinised – regardless of internet hosting a few of the most dramatic disinformation campaigns. Indeed, analysis by Mozilla fellow Odanga Madung reveals that the disinformation being unfold on TikTok violates the platform’s very personal insurance policies.

“This disinformation is similar in tone and quality to the Cambridge Analytica and Harris Media content that spread on Kenyan Facebook in 2017,” the Mozilla Foundation report learn.

The analysis discovered that “TikTok is acting as more than a forum for political speech – it is also a forum for fast and far-spreading political disinformation”.

The News24 Africa Desk is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation. The tales produced by way of the Africa Desk and the opinions and statements that could be contained herein don’t mirror these of the Hanns Seidel Foundation.

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