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Government will not shut down internet during elections, Mucheru assures

ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru says the Government is formulating key laws under the computer and cyber crime bill currently before parliament/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 23 – The government has now assured that it will not shut the internet during the August election period.

Information and Communications Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru has dismissed earlier reports of such plan, and underscored the internet as a critical resource for the country which cannot be interfered with at any given time.

“There is no government policy or even intention of shutting down the internet during the elections. We actually have not had a meeting in government where we have discussed (whether) to shut it down or not…it’s not an agenda that has come up, so I don’t think any Kenyan should have fears about that,” said Mucheru.

Sections of the media had reported that the internet will be disconnected during the election period as was the case in Uganda when the country held elections in February last year, sparking condemnation worldwide in what was termed as a major violation of rights.

Kenya, is however, formulating key laws under the computer and cyber crime bill currently before parliament which seeks to enhance penalties for offences related to online hate speech and incitement—some of which attracts up to a 20-year jail sentence or a fine of Sh20 million.

“We have trained the law enforcement agencies and prosecution agencies, providing all the information required to deal with the small incidences that we get where there is misuse of services. We have set up the Kenya Internet and Computer Incident and Response Team who have been looking into cyber security,” said the CS.

Mucheru was speaking at the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) Capacity Building Workshop in Nairobi, where delegates from different countries in Africa are discussing how to leverage on the internet and convergence.

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