The History of Data & Elections in Kenya: The New Data Protection Act & the Challenges Ahead

Produced by Internews. Data politics have played an immense role in Kenya’s tumultuous election history. In part, this is due to the centrality that ethnicity has played in Kenyan politics, and the ways in which data about ethnicity has been used, misused, and manipulated. Kenya is again headed to the polls in August 2022 for the first general election since the Data Protection Act (2019) came into effect. The question in most Kenyans’ minds is - will this law protect the integrity of Kenyan elections in this election cycle and moving forward? How can the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner protect against misuse of data in party politics and elections and the downstream effects of this data manipulation on legitimacy, trust in democratic politics, and stability? What can civil society and the general public do to push for the protection of data in electoral processes?  Kenyan lawyers, Mugambi Laibuta, Grace Mutungu, Hashim Mude and Tevin Gitonga join us on this episode to talk more about Kenya’s history of data’s use and misuse in elections and the role of Kenya’s new Data Protection Act in the 2022 election. 

And yes, we’ll touch on the boogeyman, Cambridge Analytica!

Additional Reading/Links:


Research and Interviews: Laura Schwartz-Henderson

Concept and script: Wakini Njogu & Laura Schwartz-Henderson 

Hosts: Wakini Njogu, Meshack Masibo, Laura Schwartz-Henderson

Interviewees: Mugambi Laibuta, Grace Mutungu, Hashim Mude and Tevin Gitonga

Editing & Mixing: Wakini Njogu

Executive Producers: Laura Schwartz-Henderson and Laura Vidal

Sponsored by Internews and Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung Washington DC