, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 8- Tough, persistent and determined are just but a few words I can use to describe Francis Wangusi, the Director General of the Communications of Authority of Kenya (CA), one of the top and crucial regulators in the country.
Unlike other heads of authorities, Wangusi’s name never stays too long without appearing in the public eye.
Despite moving from one battle to another following enactment of numerous regulations by CA, Wangusi has stood his ground and as he puts it, he is “only a servant of delivering what is expected of him and the authority by Kenyans.”
“One thing I have learnt is never to put happenings into my personal life. Even if you meet opposition, I think I would just say, keep laughing and then it will disappear,” he says smiling during an interview in his office.
The storm seems to have just settled after months of the digital migration drama. As he says, it wasn’t easy. But through this and other regulatory conflicts that have faced the authority while at his helm, what’s his secret? teamwork.
“The whole process of digital migration itself started on a collaborative framework. We had a taskforce that had all the players including broadcasters, government and us. What I was just trying to do is to implement what all of us agreed. But instead, they (media houses) had their own fears in it. But I think I was able to articulate the issues that we agreed because whichever the case, we were going to migrate anyway,” he recalls.
Wangusi lives by the mantra that progress is impossible without change. Through the digital migration process he says, he made a decision to remain firm and hold on to what had been agreed from the word go despite the hiccups in implementation.
“What I was doing is a call of duty. I was doing my work as a public servant who was entrusted in that position, to make sure that we achieve and deliver on the expectations of what this institutions is supposed to be. And digital migration was one of the things that was in our domain. We were the drivers and we were the implementers. I was doing my duty and I would still do it the same way if it comes,” he maintains.
By April this year at least 2 million out of 3.5 million households with television across the country, were on the digital broadcasting platform.
But right from the start when he took over the office in August 2012, Wangusi knew clearly it was not all rosy, but had to make sure he accomplished the list of assignments which lay on his table.
From licensing broadcasting houses, to Mobile Termination Rate glide path. There was also the registration of SIM cards as well as fight against counterfeit phones in the market.
“All this has had to do with being patient and tolerant as well as not personalising everything. It is all about driving what is good for everyone,” he says.
Wangusi has just been re-appointed for another four-year term effective August 22, 2015 and just before the dust settles, CA has yet again come up with new regulations aimed at addressing the issue of dominance in the telecommunications sector.
The Fair Competition and Equality of Treatment Regulations 2015, still in draft form will see any telecom company with over 50 percent market share like Safaricom declared dominant and be subjected to specific rules.
“The next thing is to even out competition in the sector. We want to see that the old market do not prevent new markets from emerging. That is going to be our next front. In fact the issue of dominance is going to be another one, maybe nearly equal to Digital Migration. But we are not afraid of it as a regulator, and we are going to deal with it within the requirements of the law,” Wangusi assures.
Other tasks he plans to deal during his second term includes protecting the cyber space, higher broadband penetration, reduction in ICT devices as well diversification of CA revenue, with major focus on support of conference tourism.
For him, if there is no struggle there is no progress.