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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.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: Nasa backs Uhuru Kenyatta's 8pc fuel tax with conditions

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.

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:   Airborne UhuRuto increase foreign trips after winning re-election

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:   VIDEO: Raila was drunk and stunk like a skunk, says Miguna

“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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Blended with love: How two parents formed a united stepfamily

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Joseph Mwangi and Nelly Njoki describe their honeymoon as a “great start to their blended family”. This is not a typical way of describing a romantic gateway, but there’s nothing ordinary about their four-year union.

They both had children from previous relationships when they got married four years ago, and wanted a honeymoon destination that would accommodate all their children aged from eight to 16.

Nelly had an eight-year-old daughter from a past relationship while Joseph, a widower, had a nine-year-old daughter and a 16-year-old son.

They wanted their children to get to know each other during the honeymoon.

“We figured that we were the ones who loved each and chose each other, the children did not, and so we had to make a deliberate effort to have them know each other well,” says Nelly.

Ups and downs

“The fun part was that we got the most beautiful house that came with a chef and it was by the beach. The walks on the sandy beaches and swimming in the ocean was fantastic,” she says.

“For the children, this was the first time they were spending an extended period together. They would argue and makeup, each would be clingy to their respective parent at the start of the honeymoon, but by the time we were going back, they had bonded, they argued less, and when they did, we did not even get to know about it,” she adds.

The beginnings

Joseph and Nelly’s romance dates back four years ago. For Nelly, the journey to having a family leave alone a blended one was accidental. She found love at a time when she had made peace with the fact that she might never get married.

“I had already told God if He wanted me to spend my life as a single person and much as I desired marriage, I would accept his will,” she says.

“So I started working on me and my daughter, I embarked on investing and buying assets to secure her future.”

When she met her current husband who had lost his wife to cancer a year earlier, her main concern was offering emotional support.

Brother’s friend

“My husband is a friend to my elder brother, and at that time, I feared and respected both of them very much,” she says, smiling at the memory.

“He was a pastor, and I had never imagined a life where I was a pastor’s wife. He was way out of my league too, and my interaction with him before was very formal, so at no point did I imagine I would be his wife,” she adds.

Lost his wife to cancer

Joseph said when he lost his wife to cancer, people kept telling him to remarry, and friends would try to hook him up with their female friends. He was, however, very particular about the woman he wanted. He was looking for a mature and very spiritual woman.

READ ALSO:   Revealed: How Raila lost last 2 elections

“I did not want to marry a very young woman, and I was also looking for a God-fearing lady who read the Bible and was a fiery preacher. Looking back now, I think I was looking for a perfect person when I am not even perfect myself,” he says.

When he told Nelly that he was looking for a wife and asked her if she would do some research on a woman he had been asked to pursue, she obliged.

“I was more than glad to do the legwork for him, I enquired from people I knew about the woman he was interested in, but I did not get any feedback,” she says.

Softening the blow

To soften the blow, seeing that she had not gotten the information that Joseph wanted, Nelly offered a pep talk, told him not to worry and that he would get a good woman. She also warned him not to be in a hurry to marry, especially now that he had children.

“I found her to be very concerned and caring and would always be keen on how the children would cope when I got a wife. She told me to be careful not to marry someone who just wanted to get a husband. She said that it was easy to love a woman but getting one who would genuinely also love the children was the tricky part.”

‘Please come for me’

It soon dawned to Joseph that Nelly was the woman for him.

“There was a day I went village with my son, and while we were there he went down to the farm, and I wanted him back to the house, so I sent him a text that read: Please come,” narrates Joseph.

Nelly continues: “I don’t know how, but that text landed to me, and I replied to him “Please come for me.”
It was at that point that they realised there was some love brewing between them.

The two started going for more coffee dates and spent a lot of time together.

“Joseph also increased the number of times he would pass by my office on his way to upcountry,” says Nelly.

Joseph says introducing Nelly to his family and even to his late wife’s family was not hard as he had at one time asked for their blessings in case he would want to marry someone else.

He says that in his life, he is keen on involving parents in his plans and seeking their guidance-” That is how you tap on blessings.”

The blended family of Joshep Mwangi and her wife Nellie Njeru with their children Samuel Mwangi, Joy Mwangi and Precious Mwangi at their home in Kiamunyeki, Lanet in Nakuru county on October 20, 2020.

Chebiote Kigen | Nation Media Group

“When I knew I was certain I wanted to marry Nelly, I took a few friends to visit my late wife’s family. They blessed my children and me, we knelt, and they prayed for us,” he says.

READ ALSO:   Airborne UhuRuto increase foreign trips after winning re-election

“I later brought my fiancé to them, and they accepted her with open arms. I requested them to accompany me for her dowry negotiations, and they did.”

During the dowry negotiations, his late wife’s family was introduced and recognised as Joseph’s parents.

“They also got involved in the negotiations, so it was not just attending and staying on the sidelines,” he says.

The wedding took place soon after, with their daughters as the flower girls.

Blended family wisdom

Nelly says raising a blended family calls for wisdom.

“You have to be careful about how you discipline the children, so you do not appear to be favouring one child,” she says.

“In the early days of marriage, it is important to let everyone discipline their blood children before you get familiarise with each other and set ground rules. Now, I will pinch both of the girls if they make a similar mistake and they will both cry,” she says.

She also adds one should take note of how children react to the tiniest of actions. She cites an example of how when giving children their church offering, although she would give them the same amount, giving one a new note and another an old one would be met by pouting and a mood change.

“Now, I make sure I have new notes in my wallet so that I solve the issue of some getting old notes and others new.”

She adds that some people who interact with the children can make blending a family hard with the remarks and questions that they ask the children.

Nelly says their daughter would come from school looking moody, and when she pressed harder, she found that some friends and some teachers would pester her asking if she was being “overworked or denied food.”

“We even had a house help who would push her asking her how I treated her, trying to influence her on how she should be treated and we only got to know about it when she left. I had to sit down and explain to my daughter on how to handle people who asked such questions,” she says.

She advises that the children need to learn from the get-go that you are coming from a good place and that you mean well.

“You should know that you are in a transition and therefore be deliberate on how you introduce any new thing, that way, they will not question your intentions even when confronted by people on how you are treating them.”

Little decisions

For her, she says she involved the children in any changes that she wanted to implement as they already had a way of doing things.

For instance, when she wanted to paint the house different wall colours, she sought the children’s opinion.
“I love bright colours, and so before I could paint the house yellow, orange and green which are my colours, I asked them, and surprisingly they loved the outcome that was a bright house, when we were also removing the wall unit and building something to replace it, I consulted with them,” she says.
At the start of the marriage, they also had to talk to the eldest son who was 16 then, Samuel Waweru, about the new family dynamics.

READ ALSO:   BREAKING: Why Nakuru's Governor Mbugua has bowed out of the race

“Since he was in boarding school when he came home, we used to joke with him as we wanted to know what he thought about the new family, with time, he saw that we are easy and warm and started opening up and being chatty,” says Nelly.

“Right now, Sam, who was the quietest child of them all is very chatty, even relatives get shocked by how much he talks,” says Nelly.

She also adds that she got support from her husband, who would not side with the children when they complained about Nelly disciplining them.

“I also made sure I do not compare my current wife with my late wife, those two are different people, and I appreciate their uniqueness,” adds Joseph.

Easier for everybody

In a blended family, maintaining a good relationship with your ex-partner makes life a lot easier for everybody.

The father of Nelly’s daughter is also involved in all the children’s lives. Nelly says much as he does not live in the country, he is aware that Nelly is now a mother of three and requires him to treat her as such.

“So when he calls to speak with the daughter, he will talk with all the children, he will also buy presents for all of them when he visits, and he also takes all of them out when he visits, it works well for all of us, “says Nelly.

Nelly advises women to think long and hard before moving in with a man who already has children.

“It is a calling and not for everyone. When the honeymoon days of love are over, your true colours will show, it is difficult to bring up another woman’s children, and that’s why you hear of step mums beating up the children because that is not their calling,” she says.

Joseph says one of the things that have made their marriage flourish is doing things together as a couple.

“We go everywhere together, when I travel even for work, she accompanies me, you will also see us in the supermarket together, we go to pick children from school together, I don’t get bored of her at all,” he says.

Nelly adds that just like all families, making a blended family work calls for love and sacrifice for your partner. 
She relocated to Nakuru and changed churches to accommodate her family.

“I don’t regret it at all, I did it for love, and I am happy,” she concludes with a smile.

By Nationafrica.co.ke

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Lifestyle

Tweeting Chief Kariuki laid to rest in emotional sendoff

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Emotions ran high in Nakuru’s Umoja Primary School as hundreds of mourners turned up for the funeral ceremony of popular Chief Francis Kariuki of Lanet Umoja.

Kariuki, who died last Wednesday aged 55, shot to the limelight in 2011 after he joined the provincial administration from his teaching profession and utilised Twitter as a main tool for his new job.

Among the awards under his name for his use of technology in administration included a Giraffe Heroes Kenya Award 2014.

His burial was conducted at his home in Githioro, Bahati, where dozens of administrators thronged to pay their last respect to their chairman under the National Chiefs Caucus.

The funeral which was conducted under strict adherence to Covid-19 regulations was attended by Governor Lee Kinyanjui, County Commissioner Erastus Mbui and Bahati MP Kimani Ngunjiri.

Praises

Kinyanjui eulogised the administrator as an example in leadership and community policing who had a keen interest in development and service to humanity.

“Chief Kariuki is a household name in the county. He was a good leader and we used to consult on development issues including water provision to residents and security,” said Kinyanjui.

While calling on other administrators to be creative and efficient in their jobs, Kinyanjui said that there were many opportunities for them to explore in combating crime and propelling them to greater heights.

READ ALSO:   PHOTO: Raila celebrates his 74th birthday with President Uhuru

“Through the Twitter platform, he transformed information dissemination that led to improved security in Lanet. His use of social media was inspiring and earned him recognition locally and internationally. We appreciate his contribution that made the society better,” said Kinyanjui.

It is his use of social media that earned him the title “Tweeting Chief” which later presented for him a stage to travel across the globe sensitising administrators on the security tool in their line of duty.

Mbui described the fallen administrator as a selfless person whose influence was felt beyond his location where his administrative jurisdiction was limited to.

“We have lost a dedicated, innovative and dynamic civil servant. He tirelessly worked for his people and his death has left behind a huge gap to easily fill. It is his good deeds that made for him a name beyond Nakuru and Kenya,” said Mbui.

The deceased’s wife Peris Kariuki described her late husband as a humble and servant leader who was all round in his job and as a family man.

“I have been robbed a great friend and husband who was always there for his people and his family. He was an ambitious and hardworking man. You had big dreams. I will miss you, my husband. Let your soul rest in the hands of our God,” Peris said.

READ ALSO:   BREAKING: Why Nakuru's Governor Mbugua has bowed out of the race

The residents condoled with the family describing Chief Kariuki as instrumental in resolving their societal issues.

“His office was always open. He had a listening ear without discrimination. We have lost a great leader and civil servant. His humility was beyond expectations compared to his name,” said Jane Karanja, a resident.

According to the family, Chief Kariuki died at the Nakuru Level Five Hospital where he had been rushed after complaining of difficulties in breathing. He had also for a long time battled with diabetes.

The mourners in disbelief braved heavy rains at his Githioro home as he was finally laid to rest.

Chief Kariuki worked as a teacher in different schools for 21 years before he enrolled for a Bachelor’s degree course in Counselling and Psychology at Mount Kenya University.

By Standardmedia.co.ke

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Education PS revealed number of learners, teachers who tested positive for COVID-19

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BY KEVIN KOECH

Education PS Belio Kipsang on Wednesday reported that 17 learners and 33 teachers have been infected with Covid-19 since schools re-opened.

Dr Kipsang stated that the cases had been recorded in 35 schools countrywide

He, however, clarified that the numbers are not worrying to the ministry and as such there are no plans to close the schools.

“We are not about to close schools unless advised by the Ministry of Health, but we are putting our heads together to work our modalities of reopening other classes,” the PS stated.

The PS further blamed the cases on parents, citing recent political campaigns as the breeding ground for the virus.

“Our challenge is our parents attending political rallies and other social gatherings without masks, let’s not blame our children, why tell us to achieve social distance in schools if parents are attending rallies without observing measures?” he posed.

Dr Kipsang was giving a report to the National Assembly Education Committee.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: It was a monostrous fraud...it will be a bombshell...I've never seen anything like it, says Orengo
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