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Govt keen to ensure reliable internet provision during poll

State Department of Broadcasting and Telecommunications Principal Secretary Esther Koimett has reiterated that the government will not shut down the internet during the forthcoming general election.

Responding to reporters’ queries at Rift Valley Innovation Centre, Mwachon, Eldama Ravine, the PS said that Kenya has a robust economy that relies on the internet and it won’t be possible to shut the internet over elections.

Principal Secretary in the State Department of Broadcasting and Telecommunication Esther Koimett applauds the signing of partnership between Afrilabs and Association of Innovation Hubs at Rift Valley innovation centre Mwachon in Eldama Ravine during the launch of the hub’s new Wingu Radio Station. The partners were represented by Magdalene Jepkorir (holding document on the left) and Nekesa Were (on her left). Photo by Christopher Kiprop

“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,” Koimett said.

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

Koimett said the government is vigilant about hate speech to ensure a peaceful election and added that the Media Council of Kenya, a parastatal under her department, is working closely with journalists, training them on professional reporting.

“We request the media to behave professionally since the MCK which is also a regulatory body will not hesitate to put a stop to any unprofessional reporting,” added Koimett.

The PS made the remarks after officiating the launch of Wingu Community Radio where she underscored the important roles played by such communication platforms in enhancing growth in the community.

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

The PS 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 to make Kenya a better place.

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

“Today we have heard that there is a youth who makes over Sh2 million a month from online jobs, the government will continue to support innovation and ICT through programmes such as Ajira and internet connectivity to have more such success stories,” Koimett stated.

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 in 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.

PS Koimett was also accompanied by Kenya Film Commission CEO Timothy Owase.

By Christopher Kiprop

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