Who is the 5th President of Kenya? Google Search Returns Unexpected Answer

  • Azimio La Umoja presidential candidate Raila Odinga (left) his UDA counterpart DP William Ruto at Uhuru Gardens and Makueni County respectively.
    Azimio La Umoja presidential candidate Raila Odinga (left) his UDA counterpart DP William Ruto at Uhuru Gardens and Makueni County respectively.
    Raila Odinga/DPPS
  • As the country prepares to head to the August 9 polls, voters will have the chance to choose their preferred President who will succeed Uhuru Kenyatta. 

    As it stands, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has cleared four presidential candidates; Raila Odinga (Azimio la Umoja), William Ruto (Kenya Kwanza), David Mwaure Waihiga (Agano Party) and George Wajackoyah (Roots Party). 

    With the race touted by critics and pundits as a two-horse battle of wits and might between Raila and Ruto, it would be wrong to disqualify the other two candidates who are out to prove their formidability. 

    A screenshot of Google's search results for Kenya's fifth President.
    A screenshot of Google's search results for Kenya's fifth President.
    File

    A search results on Google search engine on the fifth President of Kenya, however, reveals that Raila Odinga to be the answer despite the elections being 60 days away. 

    A spot check on the results by Kenyans.co.ke reveal that the Azimio coalition presidential candidate appears as the subject in five links displayed by Google. 

    The top result shows the profile of the ODM party leader on Wikipedia and details his extensive career in politics. The information contained on the page can, however, be edited by the creator of the page.

    The subsequent links consist of quotes and remarks from incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta during the signing of the Azimio coalition agreement on March 12, 2022, where he declared Raila as his preferred successor in August.

    Only one link in the Google search results opined that Deputy President William Ruto would succeed his boss, Uhuru Kenyatta. 

    How Google Search Results Work

    When a user enters a query, the Google servers search the index for matching pages before returning the results that are perceived to be most relevant to the user. 

    The relevancy of a page is determined by various factors such as keywords, user's location, device, and language, among others. Hence despite multiple topics and pages on a particular topic, not all links that are processed by Google are indexed. 

    This is due to factors such as the relevance of the page, content quality and the site's metadata disallow indexing hence prevent Google from displaying the link in the results. 

    President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga during the ODM NDC at Kasarani, in Nairobi on February 26, 2022.
    President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga during the ODM NDC at Kasarani, in Nairobi on February 26, 2022.
    Courtesy

    Effects of Social Media

    With the world embracing technology, social media has become a key component in candidates' strategies as it opens up a space to engage with voters in more direct ways. This has seen candidates pour resources in order to employ social media strategists and handlers in order to effectively manage their platforms. 

    During the 2017 General Election, past data indicated that over 80 per cent of political candidates had an online presence. According to Digital 2020: Kenya report by Simon Kemp, there are 8 million social media users and over 80 per cent of Kenyans who visit Facebook, YouTube and WhatsApp. 

    In 2017, President Uhuru Kenyatta was ranked by Guardian Africa among the continent's top tweeting politicians, however, the Head of State deactivated his account following sentiments posted online. 

    As the country heads to the August 9 General Election, Kenyans await with bated breath to exercise their rights and vote for the fifth President in what will undoubtedly be a momentous phase in the country's history.