For the past couple of days, Cambridge Analytica has hit global trends in social media networks, especially Twitter, raising a lot of questions on why it has trended for over five days. Well, the company was the one responsible for the election campaigns for both President Trump, as well as Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Kenya was also a topic of discussion across the globe last year when the general elections were conducted. Cambridge Analytica was directly involved in the infringement of the democracy of Kenyans through voter manipulation which was made possible through the use of targeted ads on Facebook that plastered the opposition leader Raila Odinga as a dangerous and chaotic man.
According to the United Nations definition of democracy, it is one of the universal and indivisible core values and principles of every citizen of the world regardless of their country. It is based on the freely expressed will of people and closely linked to the rule of law and exercise of human rights and the basic fundamental freedoms. One of the core principles of democracy is elections where leaders are elected directly by citizens of a country through a fair electoral process.
Therefore, no one has the mandate to dictate the outcome of a democratic process but it is now clear Cambridge Analytica has the power to manipulate an entire nation and corrupt minds of millions of people not just in the United States, but also Kenya, which has been in the same situation three times.
According to Kenyan news source BibsBebe, the data mining company used Facebook to access information of millions of Kenyans to help Uhuru Kenyatta win in both the main election and also the repeat election after the Supreme Court nullified results of the main election. Cambridge Analytica’s role in the Kenyan election was confirmed by an undercover investigative reporter who was working for Britain’s Channel 4 after an exposé was released to the world media concerning scandals of the data breach. In the Kenyan propaganda campaign, Cambridge Analytica executives say they worked for the re-election of President Uhuru Kenyatta behind the scenes.
It is no doubt that the firm had to taste on their ways of manipulating and deciding the possibilities of it happening through running tests in countries where privacy rules do not seem to be focused on and little measures are taken to investigate matters concerning infringement of someones privacy especially online.
While Cambridge Analytica may be going through various cases right now concerning the violations of rights, it may not be the case in Kenya right now because it actually helped the current president ‘win’ twice.