Govt Dispels Fears Of Internet Shutdown During Polls

Fridah Wangechi | 2 years ago
ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru on a video call with President Uhuru Kenyatta PHOTO:The Standard

The government through the State Department of Broadcasting and Telecommunications has assured that the internet will remain operational during the August 9 elections after speculations there might be a shutdown until after the exercise.

Principal Secretary Esther Koimett reiterated the declaration, stating that Kenya's economy is anchored on internet connectivity, and in the event of a shutdown the country will be at a loss financially.

“My boss, CS Joe Mucheru has spoken on the issue and said Kenya will not shut the internet, the internet is very important to this economy, Kenya is a country that respects freedom of speech,” she said in response to media queries at Rift Valley Innovation Centre Mwachon on Friday, May 20.

Owing to previous cases of incitement and hate speech online, Kenyans have expressed fear that the internet may be shut down to ensure that perpetrators remained muzzled, but it could come at the expense of the majority who rely on it for communication, business, work, and education.

Further, many have also decried the possibility of electoral malpractices as silence during an election can prove detrimental to the integrity and transparency of the process, as was witnessed in Uganda during the last year's general election where it was largely said to be marred with irregularities.

Koimett, therefore, called for the regulation of the media to ensure professional reporting during the polls.

“We request the media to behave professionally as the MCK which is also a regulatory body will not hesitate to bring to a halt any unprofessional reporting,” added Koimett.

This comes at a time when the IEBC and the Communications Authority of Kenya seem to be at loggerheads over the transmission of election results after the August 9 polls, with the electoral body accusing the authority of failing to provide accurate data on the state of network connectivity in the country.

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