As Kenya’s Vote Nears, Fear That ‘Fake News’ May Fuel Real Bloodshed
“Kenyans really don’t know what the truth is.” Misleading reports combined with a shaky trust in the electoral process — a third of Kenyans have “no trust
at all” in the fairness of the electoral commission, according to a nationwide opinion poll — could set off a rerun of the violence seen a decade ago.
Many Kenyans interviewed for this article also expressed optimism that, despite the gruesome murder of the election official, the vote would be fair
and credible — as long as the technology did not fail.
But the military then backtracked, saying that the document was being “quoted out of context” and
that the military was “apolitical.” In the latest development, just two days before Election Day, the main opposition coalition, the National Super Alliance, accused Mr. Kenyatta of ordering an armed raid on one of its tallying centers.
Mr. Mwangi said that a decade ago, when he traveled around Kenya taking photographs of the violence, he
was struck by haunting images of “the poor killing the poor.” “The poor should be smarter,” he said.
But in a country with a history of election violence, the addition of such toxic behavior has
further fanned fears about whether the country can pull off a credible and peaceful vote.
In a contest that will cost at least $1 billion, according to Kenya’s treasury, more than 19.6 million registered voters
will choose hundreds of legislative candidates across the country, in addition to the president and vice president.
One news article had the headline “Crooked Raila,” referring to Raila Odinga, who is running against Mr. Kenyatta.
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