In line with Kenya’s elections on March 4, 2013, Google has launched an election hub portal in the capital city, Nairobi. The hub will provide updates on campaigns, news and information related to the polls.
Kenya will be the third African country to use the portal for polls, after Senegal and Ghana used similar portals in their elections last year.
According to Google, there is demand for news concerning the elections on the Internet with Kenya’s electoral monitoring body, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), being the top trending search in the country last year.
Politicians in the country have responded rapidly to this development, with many of them already establishing strong presence on most social media platforms. The Prime Minister, Raila Odinga, who is the CORD Coalition flag bearer, Jubilee Coalitions flag bearer Uhuru Kenyatta and his running mate William Ruto, dominated the searches on the Net last year, as was revealed by HumanIPO.
Google says it has also supported the IEBC with open-source technology that empowers its online voter tools by enabling features such as registration confirmation online and via SMS, mapping of polling stations and a developer application program interface API.
“We’re empowering voters so that they are not simply watching from afar, but participating in, engaging with and shaping the political process in a democratic way, through platforms like YouTube, Google Maps and Google+,” Google’s policy and government relations manager for Sub-Saharan Africa Ory Okolloh said.
The portal is similar to the U.S. portal used in the recent elections that provided voters with news, campaign programmes and videos of various candidates.