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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.

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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.

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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.

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“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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Woman fined Sh50,000 & six months in prison for insulting lover’s wife

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A woman has been fined Sh50,000 for insulting his lover’s wife and provoking her to a fight while drunk.

In default, Saida Mohamed Amin, the convict, will spend six months in prison.

Senior resident magistrate Charles Mwaniki of Kibera law courts handed the sentence to her after she pleaded guilty to charges of offensive conduct.

She admitted that she visited Kush Apartments in Parklands on Sunday where the complainant Salima Mohammed Ismail resides while drinking alcohol from glass and used abusive words her.

Saida told Salima that they are co-wives and hurled insults at her but in courts, said she was not in her right senses at the time.

She pleaded for leniency claiming that she is jobless and a single mother of two.

The convict claimed she has a debt with her landlord as she has not paid rent for months and pleaded to be forgiven.

She was given 14 days to appeal the sentence.

By NN

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: Kenyan musician 'Jaguar' sheds real tears in full view of cameras, says he'll now play stupid
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Terror suspect arrested for threatening to kill DCI Kinoti 

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BY KEVIN KOECH

A Nairobi woman who was recently arrested for sending letters laced with deadly chemicals to the Canadian embassy in Nairobi has yet again been found on the wrong side of the law.

Tracy Wairimu Ndegwa was arrested on Thursday, August 6, for threatening to kill the Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) George Kinoti.

Wairimu is reported to have threatened to kill the DCI boss shortly after she was released to go for a mental checkup at DCI headquarters.

She was to be charged on Friday, August 7, but her arraignment coincided with her appointment at the Mathari Mental Hospital where she was to undergo mental checkup.

Like in the case of the Canadian embassy, the woman sent Kinoti letters containing a white powder and alleged he would die after inhaling the powder.

Prior to sending the letters laced with chemicals to the Canadian envoy Lisa Stadelbauer, Wairimu had been arraigned at Milimani Law Courts for threatening to kill another person and was released on KSh 50,000 bond.

She was to be charged before senior resident magistrate Charles Mwaniki of the Kibera Law Courts for threatening to kill Stadelbauer but the matter was postponed until August 24, 2020.

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Her lawyer, Steve Ogolla, said she was an outpatient at Mathari but the prosecution said he had been making similar claims without furnishing courts with any documents to prove the same.

The suspect was released on KSh 100,000 bond and allowed to honour her appointment with the mental hospital until August 24 when she will be arraigned for the two offences of threatening to kill Kinoti and Stadelbauer.

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Sonko celebrates Elachi’s resignation 

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BY KEVIN KOECH

Nairobi governor Mike Sonko seems to be in a celebratory mood after the resignation of Nairobi County Assembly Speaker Beatrice Elachi.

Moments after Elachi announced her resignation, Sonko posted several videos on his social media accounts that suggested that he was celebrating the exit of speaker.

In one of the worship songs he posted, Sonko captioned “Yuko Mungu Mbiguni Asikiaye Maombi yetu (There is God in Heaven who hears our prayers)”.

In another video, Sonko said that “We have seen your mighty hand Lord”, before he added another one with the infamous Jubilee Party supporters campaign slogan that “sio juju ni maombi (It’s not witchcraft, it’s prayers)”.

Sonko and Elachi have been at loggerheads, and at one time Elachi declared herself the governor after Sonko was barred from accessing his office.

Announcing her resignation today, Elachi accused Sonko of being one of the people after her life.

“Governor Sonko, you cannot go on threatening people’s lives and their families. You also have a family. You cannot have everything, just nurture what God has given you,” Elachi said in a statement.

Former Nairobi County Assembly Speaker Beatrice Elachi and Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko

READ ALSO:   Uhuru named UN global youth champion
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