Internet will not be shut during August polls, CAK promises

Internet will not be shut during August polls, CAK promises

The government has ruled out undertaking an internet shutdown during the election period as it assured that all security systems are in place to prevent a violence breakout.

Communications Authority of Kenya (CAK) Director General Francis Wangusi today said that it is unlikely that it will shut down the internet during the poll process despite noting there has been an influx of hate messages on the platform.

Speaking during an election preparedness meeting with the Kenya Private Sector Alliance, the CAK boss noted that all outlets were being closely monitored by scavenging on words likely to lead to incitement.

“All platforms are under watch from telecommunication, media and social media. Don’t think you can avatar yourself without us physically tracking you,” he said.

Wangusi warned political parties and media houses against releasing election results from their independent parallel tallying centres, noting that the mandate fell solely on the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

He added that the CAK was engaging with Facebook and other social media platforms to ensure hateful accounts are brought down in the era of fake news.

“We have put sufficient infrastructure to ensure electronic voting takes place and are talking to operators to maintain high quality transmissions,” he added.

He noted that three telecom operators will transmit the IEBC poll results as he asked parallel tallying centres to announce outcomes after the electoral agency has done so.

Acting Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi noted that enforcement agencies are alert of various potential threats as the country received massive equipment over the weekend such as crowd-control vehicles, guns and tear gas to deal with any mass protests after the elections.

Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet said they will have to use slightly more force than that used by violence perpetrators if chaos breaks out during the polls.

NCIC Chairman Francis Ole Kaparo put Whatsapp administrators that spread hateful messages in groups on notice saying they put the country in “unnecessary anxiety”.

“There are terrible people on social media hell-bent on causing unnecessary anxiety by posting fake news,” Kaparo said.

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