Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Interior, Fred Matiang’i, has assured Kenyans that the government will not shut down the internet or social media in an effort to curb hate speech ahead of the general elections.
“We will not do things like switching off the internet, it will not happen here. We will not harass people but because we are confident, we will act according to the law and call people to account,” he said.
Africa has in the recent past been dogged by social media and internet shutdowns in the run-up to elections. Last year internet and social media blackouts were imposed in Tanzania, Uganda, Chad, and Ethiopia between January 2020 and February 2021.
Internet blackouts in Africa prevent users’ access to social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Whatsapp, curtailing freedom of speech and expression which is a democratic right.
Matiang’i said the Kenyan government would instead enforce strict measures to ensure the country is protected.
“However, we will be very ruthless when it comes to those who interfere with others’ freedoms.We will not hesitate or be intimidated by pressures or complaints from anybody. We will protect Kenya,” he said.
The Interior CS was speaking during the launch of NCIC strategic plan at the Bomas of Kenya Wednesday. He said the security sector would play its role in ensuring the country’s security.