Cyber bullying cases are not new in the Kenyan sense, especially on social media platforms.
The cases are plenty, and there are high chances that you occasionally see a person hurling insults to another when it is really not necessary. In some cases, online squabbles are normal, especially when victims invite them. But where is a line drawn? – and how has the bullying scenario been addressed in our local context?
What does the law say about it?
There is already an existing system that allows people to report cases of cyberbullying, which you can read about here.
It should be remembered that millions of Kenyans use platforms such as Facebook, and Twitter. Both are notorious fronts for cyberbullying.
In fact, President Kenyatta used to have a Twitter account, but it was deactivated. Reason? Well, apparently, the President was bullied out of the platform.
However, Kenyans do not shy away from seeking accountability, especially from leaders who are supposed to represent them.
Asking for accountability, or in other cases, being outright with leaders peddling lies on social media has always been misconstrued as cyberbullying.
It is nothing really new, really.
Journalists get silenced by lawsuit threats if they cover certain aspects of leaders in a light that paints them (leaders) in a bad light.
Will this continue in the incoming days, especially when the country is nearing the 2022 polls?
I say this because the National Computer and Cybercrime Coordination Committee (NC4) has received a shot in the arm: it will now be tasked with consolidating action on the detection, investigation, and prosecution of social media bullies and other cybercrimes.
On the whole, Interior CS Matiang’i announced the development during the launch of the Secretariat at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development, and where NC4 will police social media platforms for bullies.
The meeting was also attended by ICT CS Joe Mucheru and CA Director-General Ezra Chiloba.
“As we approach the general elections, our challenge number one is the misuse and abuse of social media,” says Matiang’I, “Nations around the world are pumping resource into research on cybersecurity… our conflicts are going to move to the Judiciary, and the judges must be capacitated enough to help us resolve them.”
The last part of the statement refers to an increase in the number of cybersecurity cases, which the Judiciary has failed to effectively prosecute.
The Secretariat of the NC4 is, on the whole, the body that the government hopes will stop social media misuse.
Kenya has a Cybercrime Act, but it has since received its fair share of issues.
Lastly, the NC4 includes representatives from KDF, the National Police Service, the Interior Ministry, and the AG. Other reps are from the Director of Public Prosecutions office, the ICT watchdog the CA, and the Central Bank, to mention a few.