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YouTube Launches Dedicated Channel for Kenya Elections Coverage

BY Julia Wetherell | Tuesday, February 5 2013

The new Kenya Elections YouTube Channel.

Kenya’s most wired election season ever is in high gear, with one month to go until polls open.  Now Google, a leader in the burgeoning Kenyan tech sector, has expanded its Kenya Elections Hub site with a dedicated YouTube channel for election coverage. 

In a partnership with the Irish social news site Storyful, Google Kenya launched the new channel to aggregate videos about election topics.  Most notably, it aims to be a center of discourse around Kenya’s first-ever televised debates.  Six of the eight prospective presidential candidates have currently signed on for the first debate, which will air February 11 from a private international school in Nairobi; the second debate is scheduled for the week before the election.  The YouTube platform is streaming tweets at the hashtags #kenyadecides and, from the Swahili term for “politics,” #siasa2013.

Google, which maintains elections sites for twelve different countries under its Politics & Elections section, including Egypt, Mexico, Senegal, and Ghana, wants the site to help voters make informed decisions, come March 4.  Business Daily Africa quoted Ory Okolloh, the Google policy manager for sub-Saharan Africa, announcing the channel’s launch:

All our initiatives around the elections are aimed at organising information to make it easy to reach…Information drives the decisions we make on a day-to-day basis, and we remain committed to and are keen on sharing as much of it as possible with Kenyans.

With multiple online tools and communities converging to track corruption and curb violence in the Kenyan elections, this vote may be accumulating the most online buzz ever; we’ll have to wait until the polls are cast to see if has been the most transparent. 

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