Earlier this year in January, this website reported that Kenya’s Communication Authority warned that it could shut down the internet during the 8th August, 2017 general elections to prevent violence. However, new reports emerge, according to Capital FM Kenya, as the government has said it has no intention of disabling the internet ahead of its forthcoming General Election.
According to the report, Information Communications and Technology (ICT) Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru stated that there are no immediate plans to disable internet in the country since they need it for smooth election process.
He however noted that the government machinery is ready to take action on internet users inciting Kenyans to violence through hate speech.
“You have seen that this has been the most peaceful time before elections. We are talking thirty days before the elections and the country is fairly peaceful so I am not anticipating that there is any time we are going to switch off the internet. But you have to be prepared as a country and the things that you need to do to ensure we are safe and at the moment, we have no plans of switching of the internet, media or anything because everybody is using the same technology for elections,” he stated.
Mucheru further stated that the government is tightening restriction on social media use ahead of the election, keeping a close eye on political posts and what it calls sensational reporting on unauthenticated digital platforms such as those posted on Facebook and Twitter.
He indicated that his ministry was also working closely with the Interior Ministry to ensure guidelines developed by the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) are adhered to by social media users.
Mobile phone operators have also been given the power to stop circulation of any message deemed inflammatory.
Notably, in a bid to host free, credible and fair General Elections, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) – in May this year announced that the scheduled Elections, a comprehensive solution of biometric technology kit will be distributed throughout the whole country and over 45,000 MorphoTablet devices are said to be used to verify voter lists and to authenticate voters using both their photos and fingerprint recognition.
source: Capital FM Kenya