‘Githeriman’, IEBC top Kenya internet searches during election week on google

Githeri man 'inspecting' guard of honour with President Uhuru
  • Martin Kamotho’s ‘Githeriman’ was among the top cyber searches on Google
  • Kamotho’s photo taken as he ate githeri while queuing to vote went viral, earning him the nickname Githeriman

Election results topped the list of concerns for Internet users in Kenya over the last week as the country went to the polls on Tuesday.

Data from Internet giant Google indicates that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) by far topped the list of search queries.

At the weekend, search queries from the country were dominated by sports with the match between Arsenal and Chelsea and Usain Bolt’s final single run at the IAAF games dominating online search queries.

On Tuesday, however, the term IEBC alongside IEBC results, Kenya election results and presidential results were the most searched terms averaging more than 250,000 searches in one 12-hour cycle alone.

Kenya’s hotly contested 2017 General Election saw about 15 million out of 19 million registered voters troop to more than 40,000 polling stations across the country to cast their ballots, recording one of the highest voter turnouts in the country’s history.

Recorded spike

Interest for the search items was largely muted in the days preceding the vote, but recorded a spike beginning August 8 at 3am as Kenyans woke up early to begin voting.

In fact, just one hour between 5pm and 6pm on the same day saw a doubling in the surge in search terms related to the elections as users sought information on polls closing as curiosity on the preliminary results built up.

Google is the largest search engine in the world processing 40,000 search queries each second, and its search reports show a strong correlation with what many internet users find intriguing within a specific duration of time.

The regions of Garissa, Embu and Nyahururu led in the volume of search queries related to the elections with interest sustained for the better part of the next two days.

Martin Kamotho’s photo taken as he ate githeri while queuing to vote went viral, earning him the nickname Githeriman. He was also one of the most searched personalities in Kenya during the past week.

The first searches on Mr Kamotho started on Wednesday at around 5pm with traction steadily growing as users sought to find out the identity of Githeriman.

Interest more than doubled the next day at around midday as news filtered through online that Kamotho had been found and he made appearances on several television news bulletins. The man works as a cleaner in the city’s Dandora estate.