Kenya: Jubilee - We Didn't Use Dirty Tricks in 2017 Poll

President Uhuru Kenyatta interacts with residents of Lunga Lunga, Kwale County, on May 25, 2017 during Jubilee campaigns

Jubilee won't apologise for the way it conducted its 2017 campaigns and its engagement with Cambridge Analytica's parent company, Strategic Communications Laboratories.

"Most serious campaigns hire consultants and experts to bridge capacity gaps that they may have. We have nothing to apologise for," the party's secretary-general, Raphael Tuju, told the Nation Wednesday.

'DEVILISH PROPAGANDA'

Disgraced firm Cambridge Analytica made news for meddling in the 2017 General Election.

Its former managing director, Mr Mark Turnbull, told CNBC the firm "rebranded the entire (Jubilee) party twice, wrote their manifesto, and conducted two rounds of 50,000 (participant) surveys".

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, untraceable" propaganda via the internet to sway campaigns.

The 2017 poll was marred by misinformation as fake news was spread across the country via the internet. President Uhuru Kenyatta's opponent, Raila Odinga, was smeared with a series of viral videos, including one notoriously depicting apocalyptic scenes if he were to win.

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.

Mr Tuju said it was common practice for consultants to take credit for election wins, but "at the end of the day it is the candidate who wins an election and not the consultant, whatever credit for the success such experts may want to claim in their CVs as a marketing pitch for the next job. Such consultants, of course, never make references to failed campaigns."

On Ms Alexandra Phillips, Mr Tuju noted that there was nothing illegal with any engagements but that her role "is a bit exaggerated. We have nothing to be ashamed of because we never did anything illegal or unethical."

DATA MINING

As for the reason for engaging them, Mr Tuju noted that "it was essential that we mix our communication team with an external person who could give a different perspective. All these claims that they did our manifesto is (pitching) for their next job."

An insider in Jubilee who was a cog in the wheel of the party's campaigns said their engagement was with Cambridge Analytica's parent company Strategic Communications Laboratories (SCL) and it was not their business who they brought on board.

"The media is trying to attack Jubilee Party by linking it to Cambridge Analytica because of data mining, and also claiming we were part of the rough videos on the The Real Raila (sic)... the contract was with the SCL, which has been in public domain. Any links SCL had or has with Cambridge Analytica is not our business," the source said.

The source wondered why the focus was on one subcontractor, Ms Philips, while many contractors had been hired.

"Calling Alexandra Philips's contract 'secret' is aimed at manufacturing unnecessary intrigue. Non-disclosure agreements are as commonplace in the corporate world as the oath of office is at all levels of governments. Even our rivals in National Super Alliance (Nasa) had multiple external expertise aboard their campaign mac hinery," the source added.

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