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January 20, 2019

Poor Mwingi mobile network hurts security

Baringo senator Gideon Moi at Kasiluni market in Ngomeni, Mwingi North, on Tuesday /MUSEMBI NZENGU
Baringo senator Gideon Moi at Kasiluni market in Ngomeni, Mwingi North, on Tuesday /MUSEMBI NZENGU

Most of Mwingi North in Kitui is not covered by mobile telephone networks, the Senate Committee on ICT was told on Tuesday.
There is lack of connectivity, despite the Communications Authority insisting that more than 98 per cent of Kenya is connected.
Team chairperson Senator Gideon Moi said the communication agency must urgently ensure affected areas are connected as soon as possible. Connections are especially important for bandit attack hotspots, he said.
Gideon spoke at Kasiluni trading centre in Ngomeni, Mwingi North.
He was accompanied by senators Enoch Wambua (Kitui), Samuel Poghisio (West Pokot), Alice Milgo (nominated) and Ekal Imana of  Turkana. The team had visited the area to assess the mobile netork coverage.
Wambua said although the area suffers bandit attacks, there’s no way to relay information to security officers in real time.
The senators said lack of mobile service put residents at risk and has hurt services and development.
The team was accompanied by CA engineers to assess the connectivity problem.
Gideon said Communications Authority engineers will start to set up a communications station in the area.
He said he would soon return to the area to launch a communication BTS mast (base transceiver station).
Milgo said connectivity is key in ensuring medical emergencies are attended to quickly.
Poghisio said providing a communications network is more important than relief food. He said once this is taken care of, other services will be accessed with ease.
Gideon further said too few police reservists were deployed to Ngomeni and 42 was inadequate.
“In my area [Baringo] and in West Pokot, we have hundreds of police reservists and they are not enough. That’s why they should be increased in Ngomeni to assure residents security,” Gideon said.
He said Baringo has 445 police reservists and West Pokot has “almost an entire battalion”.
Residents complained that a number of police reservists from Kasiluni had been jailed after they killed bandits in a fierce fire exchange.
 Gideon urged Senator Wambua to work with him to ensure their sentence is reviewed. “Guns are issued to protect communities and homes. Guns are not ornaments thus the senator from Kitui should follow up on the issue to ensure it is sorted. I will be fully behind him,” he said.
Wambua said lack of coverage in the area has cost many lives in bandit attacks, mostly by Somali pastoralists.

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