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From scandals to victories: What Kenyans searched for in 2023

 Kenyan Politician Millicent Omanga. (Courtesy)

Google has revealed its Year in Search 2023 lists for Kenya, offering a glimpse into the interests that captured Kenyans throughout the year.

Google’s Year in Search is an annual analysis that reveals the top trending lists and spotlights what the world seeks to see, learn and do. 

The top trending local personalities list is topped by Millicent Omanga, a Kenyan businesswoman and politician who trended after an intimate video of a woman circulated on social media with some users alleging that the person in the undated video was her.

Second on the list is Pastor Ezekiel, a Kenyan televangelist and founder of the New Life Prayer Centre and Church who was embroiled in the Shakahola cult controversy, arrested and his church closed by the government after being linked to the massacre.

He was later freed by a Shanzu court after the prosecution told the court that investigations against him had been completed and recommended closure of the case file. 

Faith Kipyegon, the three-time world record holder in mid-distance running, also made the list of the top trending searches by Kenyans at number six after she won the World Athletics Championships 1500m and 5000m titles, completing a remarkable distance double and becoming the first woman ever to complete a 1,500-5,000 meters double at the World Championships. 

The top trending global personalities in 2023 are a mix of sports stars, political figures, and entertainment personalities. Mudryk, the Ukrainian footballer, topped the list after his transfer saga that saw Arsenal and Chelsea compete for his signature during the summer transfer season.

Chelsea finally confirmed signing him after hijacking Arsenal’s proposed move for the winger in an £87 million transfer. Second on the list is Declan Rice, an English footballer who joined Arsenal from West Ham for a British record transfer fee of £105 million.

Also on the list is Museveni, the Ugandan president, who signed an anti-LGBTQ+ law with the death penalty for same-sex acts, a move that drew condemnation from many Ugandans as well as widespread international outrage. 

The sports list was dominated by the Rugby World Cup, which took place between September and October in France. This was followed by Al Nassr, a Saudi Arabian football club that achieved notable successes and acquired renowned players like Cristiano Ronaldo, Aymeric Laporte, and Sadio Mané.

The English Premier League continued its dominance in the sports category with games such as Arsenal vs Man-U, Chelsea vs Arsenal, Chelsea vs Man-City, and Arsenal vs Man City dominating the searches. 

Searches related to higher education financing, teacher performance appraisal systems, and national examinations dominated the trending education list. The HEF portal (Higher Education Financing Portal), TPAD 2 (Teacher Performance Appraisal and Development System 2), and NEMIS (National Education Management Information System), all of which provide access to educational resources and opportunities, were among the most searched terms related to education. 

The death of former Cabinet Secretary for Education, Prof George Magoha was the most searched loss by Kenyans, followed by South African rapper Costa Titch, who died in March.

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