CS Mucheru: Internet won't be shut down during, after polls

Joe Mucheru CS ICT

Joe Mucheru, Kenya's Cabinet Secretary for ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs.

Photo credit: Lucy Wanjiru | Nation Media Group

The government has assured Kenyans of access to the internet and the media before, during, and after the August General Elections.

Information, communication and technology (ICT) Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru says the government has no intention of shutting down the internet, or blocking media access.

“We are not shutting down the internet. We enjoy a democratic space and we assure you that there will be no internet shutdown,” Mr Mucheru told a Kenya Editors Guild Breakfast meeting in Nairobi on Wednesday. 

The government, he says, had also put in place all measures to ensure that Kenyans are not duped by what he said was “fake tallies.”

“We assure you that if there are any fake tallies, they are going to be dealt with. Security in our country is paramount and ensuring so is having a clear communication method,” Mr Mucheru said.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has allowed political parties, candidates and the media to tally and tabulate their own results, but has warned them against making any declaration, which is a constitutional preserve of the elections agency.

Safaricom, the country’s biggest mobile network company, on the other hand, said it had put in place measures to ensure elections results are transmitted on time.

The telco’s chief executive officer said the firm had instituted a network freeze, which means blocking any network maintenance to ensure its smooth operation.

“We have now instituted a network freeze. This means that there are no new products and no one is going to do work to maintain the network unless there is an emergency. This is to avoid any interruptions or an outage in the network,” Mr Ndegwa said.

The Safaricom chief insisted that its network was foolproof. 

“We take our role seriously. The same way you trust us that your M-Pesa will not be swapped is the same way you should trust that we will not interfere with the contents of the information transmitted by the IEBC,” Mr Ndegwa said. 

Editors Guild president Churchill Otieno said: “It is our responsibility to find credible results to deliver to the public and also identify those who are pushing the wrong ones and unmask them.