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Meet the British Woman behind some of the most fiery Uhuru speeches as presidential candidate

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A high-profile Brexiteer and Member of the European Parliament has admitted that she secretly worked for Cambridge Analytica in the 2017 election campaign in Kenya.

Brexit Party MEP Alexandra Phillips made the admission to the UK’s Channel 4 News after initially denying any involvement with the disgraced data firm, and pressuring journalists to drop the story.

BACKTRACKED

She backtracked only after Channel 4 News obtained a recording of an interview from 2017 in which she confirms she had been “employed by Cambridge Analytica to work for Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta”.

Cambridge Analytica, created around 2013 with an initial focus on the US elections, denies meddling in the 2017 Kenya polls, even though Mr Mark Turnbull, then MD of the firm, had been quoted by CNBC as saying they “rebranded the entire (Jubilee) party twice, wrote their manifesto, and conducted two rounds of 50,000 (participant) surveys”.

The admission by Ms Phillips will further dent the digital marketing firm’s controversial image.

In a statement released to Channel 4 News, Ms Phillips admitted working for SCL, Cambridge Analytica’s parent company, on President Kenyatta’s re-election campaign.

“In Kenya, I worked as a freelance contractor – focusing on speech writing – with the team of President Kenyatta. This work was sub-contracted out to me by SCL, which went on to become a different company,” she said.

Cambridge Analytica was exposed by an undercover Channel 4 News investigation last year in which company bosses were filmed boasting of dirty tricks and influencing elections across the world.

They were caught bragging about smear campaigns, bribing politicians, and seeding “unattributable, untrackable” propaganda onto the internet in a bid to sway campaigns for clients.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: Raila recognizes Uhuru as president in surprise statement

MISINFORMATION

The 2017 poll was marred by misinformation, with fake news spread across the country via the internet and on smartphones. Mr Kenyatta’s opponent Raila Odinga was smeared with a series of viral videos, including one notoriously depicting apocalyptic scenes if he were to emerge victorious.

No one in Kenya seemingly knew who was behind the video. Cambridge Analytica denied any involvement with the content, and any role in negative political campaigning in Kenya. But a few months after the election, Mr Odinga accused the firm of tarnishing his name, and even threatened to sue it and Facebook for “devilish propaganda”.

“I have been a victim of fake news. The international community has failed to rein them in,” Mr Odinga told participants in an address at Chatham House in the UK.

“I am disappointed that Facebook agreed to cooperate in this clandestine enterprise… we are actually contemplating legal action.”

“Cambridge Analytica was running a platform you would see my picture with very negative stories every time you opened a page. Once the campaigns were over, you could not see those pages, making it difficult to seek legal redress.”

Mr Kenyatta came to power in 2013 and won a second and final term in 2018, defeating Mr Odinga by 1.4 million votes. The Supreme Court nullified the vote, citing procedural irregularities, and ordered a second election.

HEFTY FINE

Facebook already faces a Sh500 billion fine in the US over the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has approved the hefty fine, which needs approval from the Justice Department. Since March 2018, FTC has been investigating allegations of the political consultancy firm improperly obtaining data of up to 87 million Facebook users. If approved, the fine will be the biggest penalty against a technology company by the federal government. In 2012, Google was fined Sh2.2 billion for privacy violation.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: I thought Uhuru would receive me at the airport, says Raila

When initially questioned by Channel 4 News on camera, Ms Phillips denied working for Cambridge Analytica or even knowing anyone on its political campaign team.

“I didn’t work for them at all. That’s libellous,” she said. “I’m being very serious now. You’re actually propagating a load of misinformation that’s been put online…based on nothing,” she said.

“If you want to talk about the Cambridge Analytica campaign, speak to them, not me. I don’t know them. I really don’t know the people.”

Ms Phillips pressured the journalists to drop the story, before calling her lawyers.

“And if you use this online, it’s going to be very difficult. And actually, please don’t pursue that because there’s going to be a lot of things that might be happening over the next weeks… months…which is going to make life very difficult. I’m being serious. I’ve never been employed by Cambridge Analytica in my life,” she threatened.

However, Channel 4 News obtained an audio recording of an interview from 2017 in which Ms Phillips told how she was secretly employed by Cambridge Analytica to work for Mr Kenyatta’s Jubilee party.

‘AIR HOSTESS’

“I’ve not been able to speak to you because I’ve been under my contract, which finished yesterday,” she says in the recording.

READ ALSO:   Kenya buys 12 US helicopters amid rising concern, hue and cry over public debt

“So now I’m able to talk. But whilst I’m under contract with Cambridge Analytica, if they’d found that I’d spoken to a journalist about them, then, you know what I mean non-disclosure agreements and all the rest of it? I wasn’t working for Jubilee. I was employed by Cambridge Analytica, who had the contract with Jubilee.”

“I was brought on as a political communications consultant for the Kenya project. I’d be writing the President’s speeches and his talking points for rallies and State House statements. I trained their communications team; they’re all sort of journalists who came together to create a press office, so I had to train them.”

She said the work was so sensitive that she was told if anyone asked what she was doing in the country, she must tell them she was working as an air hostess.

In the interview, Ms Phillips also said the contract was valued at £300,000 (about Sh3.8 million) a month, and would add up to around $6 million (Sh600 million).

In a statement released to Channel 4 News last night, Phillips said: “Out of respect for those whom I served, I will continue to respect the confidentiality agreements that I signed upon accepting the role in Kenya. And I will not be bullied by agenda-driven, guilt-by-association reporting.”

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KCSE candidate loses two teeth in brutal attack by prefects

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A Form Four student at Mutindwa Day Mixed Secondary School in Tharaka-Nithi County lost two teeth in an alleged brutal attack by the school head boy and four of his friends.

Ian Karani, who is recuperating at PCEA Chogoria Mission Hospital where he was admitted on Wednesday last week, told the media that the prefect and his colleagues beat him up for walking out of the dining hall with food against the school regulations.

“The head boy approached me demanding to know why I taking my food outside the dining hall and before I explained he descended on me with blows before his four friends joined him,” Karani said.

Left lying

He said after a thorough beating he was left lying on the ground with blood oozing from mouth and the nose where he was picked by teachers and rushed to the hospital.

The students said teachers lied to the hospital that he had accidentally fallen and also demanded that he should not tell the truth to avoid the matter becoming a police case.

Mr Murithi Ndubi, Karani’s father, said when he got information on what had happened to his son, he rushed to the hospital and found him at the casualty room unconscious.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: Raila recognizes Uhuru as president in surprise statement

He claimed that teachers have been intimidating his son forcing him to lie that he fell so as to protect the school reputation and avoid dragging the management into police cases.

“I want justice for my son because he suffered permanent injuries at the hands of prefects and teachers don’t want the truth to come out,” said Mr Ndubi.

Indiscipline case

School principal Mr Mugambi Mitambo agreed that the boy was beaten by the school head boy and four other Form Four boys and assured that he was handling the indiscipline case appropriately.

“Karani lost his teeth while fighting with the prefect and other four boys and I’m handling the matter as an indiscipline case,” said Mr Mitambo.

BY Nairobi News

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News

Sonko compares his extended foreign tour to Trump’s trips abroad

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Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko who has been ‘missing’ for almost two weeks now has compared his absence to that of United States President Donald Trump.

Even as he is being investigated in numerous corruption cases, Sonko has had the time to visit several countries abroad including Dubai, Italy, France and later in the week he will be visiting South Korea.

On Tuesday, through social media, Sonko explained why he has been away, stating that all the trips he has taken are good for the city.

“In the last week starting Monday 7th October, I have been out of the country on an official tour where I visited Europe (France) Montpellier, Copenhagen (Denmark) and Asia (South Korea) to attend key note events where other major cities of the world were represented by my counterparts,” Sonko wrote Facebook.

He compared the trips to those of Trump after he took over the Oval office.

“In 2017, US President Donald Trump made several foreign trips, one from 20th to 27th May (8 Days) where he visited a number of Middle East Countries and another in November 5th to 14th (10 Days) visiting Asia, the Korea Peninsula and China. In 2018, Trump went for several foreign trips with one lasting from June 7th to 16th (9 Days) in Europe,” he explained.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: I may form a government in exile, says Raila

He further said that as the governor he has also made several crucial official trips to represent Nairobi City around the world in the last two years.

This he explained is because he believes it is important for him get to interact with other world city leaders and get to see or learn what they are doing differently in their respective cities.

That aside, Sonko admitted that he has been enjoying every moment of his foreign trip.

BY Nairobi News

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Nazizi exhilarated as son meets President Uhuru Kenyatta

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Last week marked eight decades since St Mary’s School, Nairobi was started and in honor of the fete, the school’s former and current students came together to celebrate.

Leading the ceremony was Saints alumni President Uhuru Kenyatta who stole the show when he turned up dressed in full school uniform.

Legendary Kenyan Hip hop artist Nazizi Hirji’s 9-year-old son Tafari Firoz who is a pupil at the institution had the privilege of meeting President Uhuru Kenyatta and sharing a cake-cutting session with him.

Tafari was among a select number of students chosen to participate in the event.

An elated Nazizi took to Instagram to share her proud mama moment with her online family.

“The president of my heart @tafari_firoz got to meet the President of Kenya yesterday. The celebration was #saintsat80 and yes @uhurukenyatta is an old Saints boy. Super proud mum,” she wrote.

Nazizi’s son with President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Joining the president in celebration of the school’s 80th anniversary was Citizen TV news anchor Jeff Koinange, Baringo Senator Gideon Moi and business mogul Jimi Wanjigi, also alumnus of Saints.

The president was pleased with the warm welcome he got from St Mary’s students and in turn extended an invite to the learners to visit the State House for a tour as he urged for the school’s improved infrastructure.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: I thought Uhuru would receive me at the airport, says Raila

“Let’s put up credible framework to marshal resources to assist the school in improving libraries and other infrastructure. Institutions’ histories are kept alive by people,” said the President.

By SDE

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