Russia accused of trying to strain UK-Nairobi ties

Friday November 10 2017

Russian President Vladimir Putin looks on as he

Russian President Vladimir Putin looks on as he meets with his Iranian and Azerbaijan's counterparts in Tehran on November 1, 2017. A British newspaper has claimed that Russia is being accused of being behind attempts to destabilise relations between London and Nairobi. AFP PHOTO | ALEXEY DRUZHININ 

By PAUL REDFERN
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LONDON

A leading British newspaper has claimed that Russia is being accused by elements within Britain’s Foreign Office of being behind attempts to destabilise relations between London and Nairobi.

The Times newspaper said concerns had been growing in the UK’s Foreign office about a ‘Russian connection’ to the increasingly strident anti-British tone of news on social media and what it termed ‘fake news websites’.

But the newspaper said that other British government sources believe that the “disinformation originates solely from Kenyan campaign sources.”

The Times says that three key organisations were fuelling this social media storm, Cambridge Analytica, BTP Advisers and Aristotle.

BREXIT

The first two companies were hired by President Uhuru Kenyatta’s election team while the latter was contracted by Mr Odinga’s side.

The Times noted that BTP has been accused of “stoking anti British sentiment” in the last Kenyan elections in 2013.

But the report also acknowledged that anti-UK and US opinion had risen after Western observers had given a clean bill of health to August polls.

It then reached a peak after the UK High Commissioner Nic Hailey “made a statement with other ambassadors calling for the fresh presidential election to go ahead.”

The report said that “fears about the potential involvement of Russia in spreading anti-UK sentiment abroad comes as the British Electoral Commission has launched an investigation into whether Moscow  interfered in the Brexit campaign’ in Britain last June.