Kenya’s biggest opposition party called for an independent probe of Cambridge Analytica’s role in last year’s protracted presidential elections that were marred by violence.
“We would be interested in the truth about the role of Cambridge Analytica in spreading divisive propaganda in our election cycle,” Orange Democratic Movement Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna said Tuesday by phone from Nairobi, the capital. “We support an inquiry into their involvement.”
Channel 4, a London-based broadcaster, reported on Monday that Cambridge Analytica worked secretly for incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta’s campaign last year, including rebranding his Jubilee Party and writing its manifesto. The company denied any role in negative political campaigning in Kenya, Channel 4 said.
Kenya held two presidential elections last year, in which clashes
left at least 92 people dead. The first, in August, was annulled by the Supreme Court after the opposition claimed the vote was rigged. Kenyatta was declared the winner of the second round held in October when the opposition failed in another court bid to have the ballot declared invalid.
Mark Turnbull, the managing director of Cambridge Analytica’s political division, said in a secretly filmed video published on Channel 4’s website that the company worked on the past two Kenyan election campaigns for Kenyatta.
“We have rebranded the entire party twice, written their manifesto, done two rounds of 50,000 surveys,” Turnbull said. “Then we’d write all the speeches and we’d stage the whole thing. So just about every element of his campaign.”
William Kipkemoi Kisang, a Jubilee Party member and chairman of the Kenyan National Assembly’s departmental committee on communication, information and innovation, said he couldn’t immediately comment.
“I am looking at the reports and I’ll bring it to the attention of the committee,” which next meets on Thursday, he said.
Calls to London number listed on Cambridge Analytica’s website didn’t connect, and the company didn’t immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.
Cambridge Analytica “strongly denies the claims” made by Channel 4 and other media outlets, the company said in a statement on its website on Tuesday.