Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi has assured Kenyans that the Internet connections will not be switched off during the 2022 General Election.
Speaking during the launch of the National Cohesion and Integration Commission’s (NCIC) strategic plan at the Bomas of Kenya, Matiang’i said Kenyans will still enjoy the internet, but tough actions will be taken on those who misuse it.
“We will not harass people but because we are confident, we will act according to the law and call people to account. To those who break the law, we will arrange a good meeting between you and the law. Any threats to the vision of Kenya should be met with the full force of law,” Matiangi stated.
In May, the NCIC raised concern that there is a likelihood of ethnic violence in some parts of the country including Marsabit, Turkana and West Pokot counties.
Earlier on, in February 2021, the commission had earmarked Nairobi, Kisumu, Eldoret, Mombasa and Nakuru as possible hotspots for violence during next year’s General Election.
In recent times, governments have switched off the internet during elections to prevent citizens from spreading hate on social media platforms.
However, this has also not been taken kindly by international election observers, who regard it as a violation of human rights during the election period.
In October 2020, the Tanzanian government restricted the internet access in the country just days ahead of its General Election.
Major social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and other text messaging apps were blocked, and Tanzanians relied on virtual private networks (VPNs) to send messages and access information.
A similar scenario was witnessed in Uganda during their General Election in January 2021.
On January 13, the Ugandan government shut down the internet after losing Facebook accounts belonging to top government officials.
After 100 hours in the dark, the Internet was restored, but Ugandans could still not access social media platforms until days after the elections tallying was complete.