Kenya: No Internet Shutdown During Polls, Our Economy Depends On It – Koimett

Eldama Ravine — The Principal Secretary in the State Department of Broadcasting and Telecommunication Esther Koimett has reiterated that the government will not shut the internet during the forthcoming general elections.

Responding to media queries at Rift Valley Innovation Centre Mwachon on Friday, Eldama Ravine, the PS argued that Kenya has a robust economy that relies on internet and it won's be possible to shut the internet over elections.

"My boss, CS Joe Mucheru has spoken on the issue and said Kenya will not shut the internet, the internet is very important to this economy, Kenya is a country that respects freedom of speech," she said.

The PS further added that the government believes that the country has a regulatory space and environment to deal withany challenges that may arise from the elections management.

She was responding to fears that Kenya may go the Uganda way in which there was total internet shut down during last year's general election that was largely said to be marred with irregularities.

On hate speech she said the government is committed to ensure there is a peaceful election and that the media Council of Kenya, a parastatal under her department is working closely with journalists, training them on the professional reporting.

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"We request the media to behave professionally as the MCK which is also a regulatory body will not hesitate to bring to a halt any unprofessional reporting," added Koimett.

The PS made the remarks after officiating the Launch of Wingu community radio at the Hub and underscored the important roles played by such communications platforms in enhancing growth in the community.

She called on the community to make good use of the facility so as to realize benefits in agriculture, business and education.

She also hailed the project which has been developed by local professionals as life transforming and called on other professionals across the country to emulate them so as to make Kenya a better place.

She underscored the significance contribution of ICT and innovation in bridging the gap of unemployment as many youths are now earning from online work.

"Today we have heard that there is a youth who makes over Ksh. 2 million in a month from online jobs, the government will continue to support innovation and ICT through programmes such as ajira and internet connectivity so as to have such success stories," she emphasized.

The PS witnessed the signing of a pact between Afrilab, a network of innovation hubs across Africa, and Association of Country Innovation Hubs, an association linking ICT and Innovation hubs in the country.

Speaking during the signing ceremony Afrilab's Director Nekesa Were said the country hub will benefit from its support on training and availing of internet to the hubs.

Her counterpart who is also the founder and executive of Eldo Hub, Magdalene Jepkemoi welcomed the pact saying they are looking forward to benefit and expand the local hubs.

Konza Technopolis CEO Eng. John Tanui who is the patron of the innovation hub said over 20 partners have helped to build the centre which sits on Mwachon primary School and is run as a CBO in trust by members of the community.

The Centre's manager Mr. Benjamin Towett called on the parents to send their children to the institution to gain practical knowledge that will lead them to the job market, saying the institution was planning to attain a TVET status in the next one year.

The PS was also accompanied byKenya Film Commission CEO Timothy Owase.

Artmotion S.Africa

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