Saturday, February 9, 2013

Tech + Elections: The Uchaguzi Platform Official Launch

Uchaguzi logo

The Uchaguzi platform will be launched officially on Monday 11th February 2013. This launch will be held at the Intercontinental Hotel, Nairobi  from 7:30 am.

Uchaguzi is a joint initiative of Ushahidi, Hivos, Creco, Umati, and SODNET, seeking to deliver  unprecedented collaboration between election observers and citizen’s to monitor the March 4 general elections in near-real time. 
The goal is to extend the common practice of traditional election observation by seeking to engage citizens in election monitoring as citizens can be a valuable source of information for election observers to verify and amplify to the respective electoral authorities or security personnel in case of violence.

Three key components of Uchaguzi are:
  1. Crowd: this is the main focus of Uchaguzi and the source of most of the reports. We want people to send us any information on the election/electoral process that they feel is significant
  2. Verification: the process of evaluating information and determining how credible it is
  3. Response: Getting verified information to organizations and individuals who can intervene positively and monitoring that response to measure its effectiveness.

The methodology has evolved and builds on the concept of trusted sources and unverified sources. The goal is to both the traditional election monitors and citizen science included on Uchaguzi. This combines Ushahidi’s roots of “what do you see, what do you hear” (citizen data) with the trusted expertise of election monitors who have field experience.

What: Uchaguzi Partnership official  launch

When: February 11th, 7.30 am

Where: Intercontinental Hotel, Nairobi

Election 2013 Watch: ‘Tyranny by Numbers’ Presentation by Political Scientist Ngunyi Mutahi and its Aftermath

Ngunyi Mutahi was the talk of town this week because of his presentation which asserts that Jubilee coalition will win March 4 elections based on support from their ethnic folks.

Mutahi Ngunyi is a popular political commentator who can be equated to either Karl Rove or Dick Morris of the US. Mutahi espoused his hypothesis in which he quips the elections we're won in December 18, 2012. That is the date IEBC finished the voter registration exercise. This hypothesis gives Jubilee alliance a win in the first round based on the strength of Kikuyu and Kalenjin votes. 

Voter registration as at December 18, 2012. [Source: IEBC]
This analysis was the basis of this interview between Sakaja Johnson the head of TNA party [Uhuru Kenyatta’s party in Jubilee coalition] and Dr. Adams Oloo [Political Scientist and head dept. of Political Science at University of Nairobi – my former teacher I must add]
This analysis has resulted to a number of other ‘ analysis’ by political pundits. According to Makodingo the CORD Coalition a win in round one. 
Makodingo Analysis 
Makodingo is a political consultant affiliated to the CORD coalition. He came up with this set of numbers [below] that give the PM a win in the first round with a 50.5% of the votes cast IF the turnout is above 70%.

This analysis can be considered to be a rebutt to Mutahi Ngunyi’s ‘tyranny by numbers’ hypothesis by the PM aides. 

Based on

Nairobi Politics: Okiyah Omtatah to launch his Senatorial Bid Today at Kibera Grounds

Activist Omtatah is launching his senatorial bid for Nairobi County

Date:  Today, Saturday 9th February - 2013
Venue: Undugu Grounds, Kibera
Time: 11.30 AM

How to get there: Matatu No 16 alight at Highrise flats main entrance and get the road to Kibera Undugu grounds or from Kibera Law courts straight on to undugu grounds 1km ahead on the main road.

Omtatah will face Jubilee's candidate Mike Sonko who is considered the front runner.

Elections 2013 Watch [Forum]: Opinion Polls, Hate Speech and Overt Citizen Polarization towards the Elections

As we approach March 4, 2013 we are witnessing citizen polarization and instances of hate speech and group political identity among ethnic lines. To de-construct the ongoing phenomena Africa Policy Institute in partnership with Friedrich Ebert Stiftung has organized a forum on;

Opinion Polls, Hate Speech and Overt Citizen Polarization towards the Elections

Event Date: Wednesday 13 February 2013
Venue: The Sarova Stanley, Nairobi
Event Time: 0930hrs to 1130hrs

Presentation: Objectivity in Political Research: The Experience of Opinion Polling in Kenya.  Presenter Dr. Penina Ogada - Senior Lecturer, Department of Political Science, University of Nairobi

Dr Tom Wolf, Research Analyst, Ipsos Synovate
Angela Ambitho, Chief Executive Officer, InfoTrak Harris
Mzalendo Kibunjia, Chairperson, National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC)
Muthui Kariuki, Government Spokesman

Moderator: Kwendo Opanga, Media Consultant.

To confirm attendance to this forum shoot an email to Moses on

This forum is organized by Africa Policy Institute in partnership with Friedrich Ebert Stiftung  

Friday, February 8, 2013

Election Watch 2013: UK High Commissioner Interview with Citizen TV

Event: Tuko Rada I Choose Peace Festival, Feb. 16 2013 @ KICC Courtyard Grounds

Tuko Rada Poster
National Youth Bunge Association (NYBA) the Kenyan leading youth network of County forums which represents the Village Youth Bunges at the National level will hold the biggest peace festival of the election year dubbed “Tuko Rada”.

Leading Kenyan artists, celebrity athletes, footballers, youth leaders, media personalities, Business leaders, peace stakeholders, NYBA County youth forum members and over ten thousand peace loving Kenyan youth from all over the country will converge at the KICC Courtyard to pledge peace in Kenya and be the ambassadors of peace in the coming months as we head towards the election. 

Date: February 16, 2013
Venue: KICC Courtyard
Time: 10 am to 6 pm

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Elections 2013: Jubilee the Coalition of Ideas Vs CORD's 10 Point Programme

Jubilee Manifesto Launch [Photo: UK's Facebook page]
The Jubilee alliance launched its manifesto on February 3, 2013 at Kasarani Stadium with pomp, color and fun fare. This launch proceeded CORD manifesto launch by days. What emerged was that the Jubilee manifesto document and gig was a well thought out and orchestrated affair. The only missing thing was how the Jubilee administration if it ascended to power was going to carry out its extremely ambitious agenda.
Credit must be given where due and in my own opinion think this manifesto after going through it is an extremely beautiful document. That said the Jubilee rank need to organize a public engagement where the crafters of this document can tell us how they propose to actualize it.
Looking at the three pillars of this manifesto namely Umoja [Unity], Uchumi [Economy] and Uwazi [Openness] it reminds me of Vision 2030 which also has three pillars namely Political, Social & Economic pillars. Under each pillar we have compartments with;
1.       Umoja [Unity] pillar which is composed of;
·         National Cohesion
·         Internal Security
·         Trade & Industry
·         Social Protection
·         Arts, sports & culture
·         Health
·         Education
·         Youth employment
·         Women’s empowerment

2.       Uchumi [Economy]
·         Growth & Development
·         Manufacturing
·         ICT
·         Tourism
·         Land reform
·         Energy
·         Agriculture
·         Water
·         Environment
·         Transport
·         Housing

3.       Uwazi [Openness]
·         Corruption
·         Good governance
·         Devolution
CORD Manifesto Launch at KICC
CORD on the other hand a 10 point programme. These are;
1.       Jobs
2.       Food Security
3.       Security
4.       People led government
5.       Poverty & cost of living
6.       Social equality
7.       Infrastructure and land
8.       Quality education
9.       Health care
10.   One indivisible nation

Download the Harmonised Jubilee Manifesto here and CORD 10 point plan here

Lessons from Party Primaries: The Good, the Bad and the Unexpected

The party primaries came and passed. Now that calm has returned there are some lessons we can draw from the fiascos of party primaries;
·     We need a public holiday to conduct party primaries
The state should give a holiday for the electorate to participate in this exercise. We saw a good number of good candidates loose the party primaries because the so called middle class we at work and the aspirants with street swag we’re able to mobilize support.
·     IEBC needs to conduct the Party Primaries
Most of the party primaries we’re done in haphazard manner. In some cases there we’re delays of days because the election materials we’re not in polling stations on time.
·      Party Boys will always be Party Boys
We witnessed broad day light rigging in some regions. Especially in ODM and TNA zones where primaries are as good as elections. Some of the areas where there were question marks were Nyanza and Central Province. In the lead up to the election days we might be witnessing new voting patterns is this dissent we witnessed was quelled by party organs that rigged in the party boys
·       The Fall Out in Nyanza Province
Some commentators have gone as far as calling it a Luo Spring. How this shapes up is yet to be fully seen but in an area like Nyanza Province where the Prime Minister has commanded a spell over might be finally coming to an end.
We witnessed a good number of Odinga’s vying and the electorate refusing them. The era of an insightful voter is coming to the being and this can be attributed to;
1.       High literacy levels in these areas
2.       Technology especially mobile penetration
3.       Access to information through local radio station
The fall out was not exclusive to Nyanza because we witnessed a fall out in Othaya [President Kibaki’s backyard] where Mary Wambui and Gichuki battled it out and we witnessed some drama.
·       Get bloggers party to cover your opponents Primaries and ‘expose’ short comings
During the primary exercise we witnessed some bloggers who we know their party affiliation all of a sudden move to their opponents regions to cover the primaries. The idea here was to report as much filth as possible on nomination exercise of their opponents. In so doing they painted a bad picture of their opponent’s primary exercise.

Elections Watch 2013: Acquaint Yourself with International Crisis Group Africa Report # 197

International Crisis Group
Kenya’s 2013 polls are being closely followed by many actors as a result of what happen in 2007/08. Among the many international actors in town one actor you need to keep a close watch over is International CrisisGroup.

ICG normally would be expected to be undertaking reports of our neighbouring countries which have had their fare share of strive. This however is not the case because Kenya is at a crossroads with a huge stakes election which has many variables that look like a script straight from Hollywood. The major variables which make Kenya a high stakes affair are;

The Good
·         A new constitution promulgated in 2010
·         A new judiciary lead by Chief Justice W. Mutunga
·         IEBC lead by Isaac Ahamed
·         New Police Commissioner
·         A vibrant Civic Society
·         A vibrant press [currently organizing Presidential Debate – first of its kind in Africa]
·         Devolved government structure which reduced a concentration of power at the center and reduces an all stakes scenario as was the case in 2007.

The Ugly
·         The Post Election Violence observed after 2007 bungled polls. Over a thousand people we’re killed and people we’re internally displaced and are yet to be settled to date
·         The ICC shadow in 2013 polls. Jubilee presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta and his party Vice President nominee William Ruto are facing charges at the International Criminal Court. A win by Jubilee Coalition would be a game changer since it would alter how the ICC operates.
·         IEBC preparedness. After the disputed polls there was a international intervention lead by Kofi Annan. One of his outcomes of the mediation process was the setting up of commission to look into the cause of violence. One of their recommendations was the abolition of Electoral Commission of Kenya [ECK] which was lead by Samuel Kivuitu. In the meantime an Interim Independent Electoral Commission was set up which was preceded by Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission which was set up a year to the election after the passage of the new constitution in 2010. The commission has been facing a number of huddles. Despite its short stint it is expected to carry out the March polls which meet international standards.
·         A reformed police force. Kenya has a police force as opposed to a police service. As we approach the polls a lot will be expected on the new police commissioner who ascended into office on January 2013. In 2007/08 the questions we’re raised on the character of the police institution. We’re they compromised?These are the things which election observation crew will be looking into.

The ICG had a set of 17 recommendations which can be found here 
Download the whole report here

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Tweet of the Week: President Obama Message to Kenyan's

Twitter was the new tool that was used by Candidates Mitt Romney and Barack Obama as they campaigned for office in the 2012 US elections. It was instrumental in sending out messages to supporters, conceding defeat and announcing the win.

The US administration has moved on with this trend when on February 5, 2013 the white house tweeted the below tweet.

And as fate would have it it looks likely that the 4th president of Kenya will be on twitter. If he will continue to use that medium after the win is another thing all together. The two leading contenders for presidency have a presence on twitter going by the handles;

In fact one of the candidates went as far as to tweet this;

Elections 2013: President Obama's Message to the People of Kenya

President Obama took time off his schedule to send this message to Kenyan's. This signals the significant role US attaches to Kenya as a gateway to this region. Also, it shows that president Obama has not broken his links with his Kenyan roots.
This could also be a message to the ruling elites that US is closely watching Kenya as we head to the polls.
Presidents Obama message was received with a mixture of good sentiments especially the candidates appreciating the US stance of NOT having a candidate in the race [so they say]. There we're others who question if there has been any other country that POTUS has taken time to send a message. 
However, the tweet of the day was this;

Monday, February 4, 2013

Election Watch: Kenya Presidential Debate 2013 - An Idea whose Time has Come

Presidential Debate
In the last few days it has been death by gubernatorial debates especially Nation TV and Citizen TV which have gone full throttle in securing the gains of the new constitution and expanded democratic space we enjoy. That's not all, with no incumbent running for the March 4 poll the media executed a coup of sorts through the media owners association.

The media fraternity came up with the concept of a presidential debate. The first of it's kind in Africa. At first it was looking mission impossible with initial dates set moved to February 11, 2013 because of a number of factors key among them being a crowded presidential race and no primaries conducted as at that time.

However, this debate looks highly likely and it should be a significant occurrence in the elections calendar. Currently, we are posed for a run off going by the current polls however, there also a huge segment of undecided voters in these opinion polls.
Gainers and Losers
The small parties have all to gain in these debate because they get to share a podium with the two biggest parties. I have been listening to the small parties and my take is that they have a clear policy articulation strategy. However, they are faced with budget constrains and sometimes a media that does not give them airtime

CORD stands to lose the most especially with presidential candidate Raila Odinga who is still the Prime Minister of Kenya. Raila is good with big crowds in his trademark Kitendawili's but it is a wait and see if he will have the incubent syndrome where he is NOT used to being used hard questions which sometimes might look off to someone enjoing the trappings of power. The other to gain/lose is the deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta. Though, not a reigning minister he is the immediate Finance minister before he was forced by civic society to step down because of Hague case. He will be expected to explain to the nation on how they intend to go about the business of  governing the country while they have cases to answer at the Hague. Also, Jubilee launched an excellent manifesto which he will be expected to explain how they will raise funds to execute that five year plan.

For Musalia Mudavadi who is currently trailing the two but has had the backing of former head of state and looks increasingly as a state house project. It will be great to watch Mr. Mudavadi in the same stage with his former party boss Raila Odinga.

Other interesting things to looks for is the chemistry between Martha Karua [the ONLY woman running for presidency this year] and Uhuru Kenyatta and also chemistry between Uhuru Kenyatta and Peter Kenneth whom am told do accommodate each other.

Lastly, I will be looking for Prof. Ole Kiyapi who has been presenting his agenda in a coherent format. The key question is will be professing or engaging.
Facebook Page: Kenya Presidential Debate
Twitter: @KenyaPresidentialDebate2013