Kenya is set to have its General Elections this year and it comes at a time when social media use has gained traction and it is growing year on year.
Since these social media sites are communication tools, the government has seen it fit to monitor them during this time as revealed by the Standard. According to their report, “the government has spent more than 2 billion KES to acquire surveillance systems to monitor online- and offline communication networks during this year’s election.”
“From 2015, we have prepared ourselves for this activity,” Communications Authority of Kenya’s Director General Francis Wangusi was quoted in the report. “We have also spent around KES 600 million on a social media monitoring system and KES 400 million a device management system that will help us closely monitor mobile phones and the activities around them.”
Apparently the reason for the move by the CAK is to prevent a repeat of the 2007/2008 post election violence and only during a “worst case scenario” the Internet will be shut down. Nevertheless, CA apparently said that the monitoring system will be used to monitor and gather evidence of wrongdoers and Internet users should not be afraid.
The move by the government boards on a trend we have seen being employed by governments in some countries during elections. In some countries like Uganda and Gambia, they went ahead to disrupt Internet connectivity to its citizens during the election period which made them use VPNs to connect to these sites. This also comes at a time when the UN passed a non-binding resolution claiming that Internet disruption is a violation to human rights.