No one will interfere with results transmission - Safaricom

CEO Peter Ndegwa said the telco has the best infrastructure to relay poll results.

In Summary

• Chief Executive Officer Peter Ndegwa said on Wednesday the telco is keen on providing the right services during the polling process.

• Safaricom previously came under criticism over failure to provide stable internet connectivity during the 2017 elections where some areas were unable to transmit poll results for lack of 4G network.

Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa.
Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa.
Image: FILE

Safaricom has assured Kenyans that it has put in place requisite measures to ensure no one will interfere with vote transmission on August 9.

Chief Executive Officer Peter Ndegwa said on Wednesday the telco is keen on providing the right services during the polling process.

"We assure no one will interfere with the content that will be transmitted to IEBC. We will do anything possible to support the process and if there are questions we will answer them on real time," Ndegwa said.

He spoke during a breakfast meeting organised by the Editors Guild.

Safaricom has been mandated by the electoral agency to provide 4G internet connectivity across the country for purposes of vote results transmission.

The company previously came under criticism over alleged interference in the 2017 elections.

The National Super Alliance accused the firm of colluding with IEBC officials and helping to deny the coalition victory in the elections.

The alliance alleged that Safaricom did not transmit the results to the IEBC national tally centre saying the relay terminated in France at OT-Morpho's servers, claims that then CEO Bob Collymore refuted.

On Wednesday, Ndegwa said the telecommunication company is ready to seamlessly relay poll results of the August 9 elections.

"We will play to our best. We have the best infrastructure. We are a neutral party, we want the transmission to happen in appropriate way," he said.

The 2016 Access gaps study by the Communications Authority (CA) showed that 96.4 per cent of the Kenyan population was covered by 2G network, while 78 per cent of the population was covered by 3G.

CA Project Planning manager Peter Kiage said currently, 4G/3G connectivity stands at 96.3 per cent.

"The gap is 3.7 per cent in 1111 polling stations. So in those polling stations we recommend use of satellite," he said. 

ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru urged the media to play its role responsibly and ensure it relays accurate information.

He reiterated that the government will not shut down the internet during the election period.

"We enjoy a democratic space and sometimes some people make untrue statements. We assure there will be no internet shutdown."

Mucheru also ruled out the shutdown of Facebook or any media outlet unless there operation interfere with national security. 

"We are committed to the freedom of press. We are not going to or planning to shut down any media but if there is a national security threat that is a different thing," he said.

On Friday, NCIC chairman Samuel Kobia issued a seven-day ultimatum to Facebook to clean up hate speech on its platform or else it recommends its suspension for failure to comply with Kenya's laws.

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