NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 27 – Communication Authority of Kenya (CAK) Director General Francis Wangusi has implored Kenyans to give technology a chance following the allegations by opposition leader Raila Odinga of alleged manipulation of election results by Safaricom in collusion with the French-based company OT-Morpho.
Wangusi said the Authority is confident that Information Communication Technology (ICT) can be deployed successfully to support elections and pointed out that the country stands to gain far much more by relying on technology in the management of elections.
“As the country prepares for the repeat presidential poll, CA wishes to implore on Kenyans not to lose faith and confidence in technology,” reads part of the statement sent to newsrooms.
On Tuesday during the National Assembly’s debates, some Members of Parliament (MP) mostly drawn from the Jubilee Party suggested a return to manual election results transmissions citing the Supreme Court ruling that transmission of 2017 presidential results was irregularly done.
“ICTs have been successfully deployed and embraced in all facets of life in the country, including banking, business, education, health, agriculture and government services just but to mention a few,” Wangusi pointed out.
“The country stands to benefit in a big way if the current levels of investment and adoption of ICT are sustained. It is, therefore, the responsibility of all well-meaning Kenyans to support investors in the sector and to undermine public confidence in ICTs,” he added.
On Tuesday, the National Super Alliance (NASA) leadership claimed that the local mobile telecommunications operators were involved in the manipulation of the August 8th General Election results in favour of Jubilee Party.
“In line with our oversight responsibility as the ICT sector regulator, the Authority directed the mobile operators to report any cases of transmission failure to us. No cases of transmission failure were reported to us,” he said.
Safaricom through their Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Bob Collymore, also issued a statement defending itself against Odinga’s accusations and welcomed any formal investigation on its involvement in the elections to unearth the truth.
“Safaricom would like to state that we discharged our contractual obligations strictly in accordance with our contract and the law,” Collymore said in a statement.
The company further termed reckless mentioning of innocent Safaricom staff members.
“Safaricom is deeply concerned that the NASA statement has recklessly gone ahead to mention innocent Safaricom staff members needlessly endangering them and their families,” he said adding that “the action is callous and unnecessary.”
The authority has also warned the political actors against prematurely casting aspersions against electronic transmission of election results while not reporting any alleged election malpractices on the part of industry players to the relevant law enforcement agencies.
“We urge political actors to canvass their agenda in a responsible manner in order to avoid putting into jeopardy the impressive investment and other gains that Kenya has made in the local ICT sector,” Wangusi clarified.
“We implore politicians to instead of engaging in blanket ‘lynching’ of investors in this strategic sector,” he concluded.