Media Council Details Tricks Used in Rigathi, Karua Debate to Influence Polls

  • Kenya Kwanza running mate Rigathi Gachagua with his Azimio la Umoja counterpart Martha Karua during the Deputy Presidential Debate on Tuesday July 19, 2022
    Kenya Kwanza running mate Rigathi Gachagua with his Azimio la Umoja counterpart Martha Karua during the Deputy Presidential Debate on Tuesday, July 19, 2022.
    Kenyans.co.ke
  • The Media Council of Kenya (MCK) has challenged Kenyans to be cautious of polls conducted on social media after presidential debates.

    In a statement dated Friday, July 22, MCK Chief Executive Office, David Omwoyo, noted that politicians were using computer tricks to influence poll results in their favour.

    He stated that the trick was unearthed after the presidential running mates debate between DP William Ruto's running mate - Rigathi Gachagua - and his Azimio la Umoja One Kenya counterpart, Martha Karua, on Tuesday, July 19.

    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

    "While online consumption of media content is increasingly becoming critical, we are cautioning Kenyans to beware of manipulation deliberately pushed by purveyors affiliated to the various political competitors. We noticed a spike in the number of bots participating in online conversations around the debate," Omwoyo stated.

    Further, he noted that MCK's findings had informed its decision to advise the media to avoid carrying out opinion polls before, during and after the presidential debate scheduled for next week.

    Ruto is set to face off with former Prime Minister, Raila Odinga, on Tuesday, July 26, at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA).

    The use of bots during the Gachagua - Karua debate was flagged by research company Infortrak after it was forced to pull down a poll it had put up on Twitter.

    Speaking exclusively to Kenyans.co.ke on July 20,  Infotrak's CEO, Angela Ambitho, explained that they noticed unusual engagement of bots in the opinion polls.

    "When we did this Twitter poll we realized there were bots and we decided to pull it do. A Twitter poll is not scientific but it can give a gauge of what Twitter users think," Ambitho explained then.

    The report by MCK further indicated that 34 million Kenyans watched the running mates debate even as Citizen TV dominated the viewership.

    "Three-quarters of the viewers or 76 per cent watched the event on television, 19 per cent followed on radio while 10 per cent totaling 3.4 million were on social media

    "In terms of TV viewership, the findings further indicate that 67 per cent watched the debate on Citizen TV followed by Inooro TV and NTV at 8 per cent each, while KTN and KBC came third at 7 per cent each," MCK stated.

    A File Image of Citizen TV Studios
    A File Image of Citizen TV Studios
    Citizen Digital
    corruption