Google has launched the Kenya Elections Hub, a portal where voters, journalists and campaigns can easily track news, trends information related to the elections. This comes when the Kenya technology is at the heart of elections.
The Internet is transforming the way citizens participate and engage in the elections across Africa, as seen last year in Senegal and Ghana. Now its Kenya’s turn and expectations are high both for a peaceful transition and a deepening of democracy under the new constitution. According to Google Zeitgeist, the IEBC (Independent Boundaries and Electoral Commission) was the top trending search in Kenya in 2012, with a strong social media presence of all the major candidates.
Google is launching several initiatives to provide Kenyans with a voice and accessibility to useful information during the elections. Google has provided the IEBC with open source technology that is powering their online voter tools, including registration confirmation online and via SMS, mapping the polling stations, and a developer API.
According to Ory Okolloh, Google Policy and Government Relations Manager for Sub-Saharan Africa, voters will be empowered to participate, engage and shape the political process in a democratic way, through platforms like YouTube, Google Maps and Google+”. Google has also trained local journalists, civil society and political parties on digital tools for elections to help drive citizen engagement. They have also partnered with local media organizations to support the use of Google+ Hangouts for interviews with candidates.
“The Kenyan election will be closely watched both locally and globally in 2013 and as Kenyans head to voting day, Google will continue to work to keep Kenyans more informed about this critical process,” Okolloh concluded.
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