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For 2013 Elections, Kenyans Have Multiple Online Platforms

BY Julia Wetherell | Thursday, January 17 2013

With fraud and disorganization plaguing the lead-up to the Kenyan elections on March 4, new web portals have launched to give voters a platform for election information, as well as for reporting and tracking corruption, as Aljazeera reported yesterday.

Ushahidi, which was developed during the country’s 2007 elections as a platform for reporting political violence, has unveiled a new site for the 2013 campaign, Uchaguzi. With incident-reporting categories for hate speech, polling station issues, and matters of security, among others, the new site diversifies the original Ushahidi model with a multifaceted perspective on electoral events – there’s even a category for the implementation of successful voting practices. After users report incidents, Uchaguzi then channels them to the proper authorities.

iHub, the Nairobi tech community that’s home to the Akirachix women developer collective, is also taking part in elections monitoring. Umati, an iHub project that launched this fall to track election discourse throughout online media, is monitoring instances of hate speech that could result in the kind of violent incidents that plagued the 2007 election season.

Google, which is an expanding presence in Nairobi’s tech scene, has followed suit with Kenya Elections Hub, a platform somewhat similar to its elections portal in Japan. It aggregates news around presidential candidates and campaign issues such as corruption, infrastructure, and public healthcare.

As Kenya’s election season progresses, we’ll be evaluating the impact of these platforms on political processes.

Personal Democracy Media is grateful to the Omidyar Network for its generous support of techPresident's WeGov section.