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No intentions to shut down Internet – Kenyan regulator

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The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) has pledged not to shut down the Internet amid protests in the East African country.

Protestors have taken to the streets over the country's Finance Bill, which they believe will increase the tax burden on citizens.

Youth-led protests are set to intensify as lawmakers vote on proposed amendments to the bill.

However, in a statement the CA said it would not interfere with Internet connectivity ahead of the anti-Finance Bill protests.

"The Communication Authority of Kenya (CA) has received inquiries regarding an imminent Internet shutdown on Tuesday, June 25, 2024," said CA Director General David Mugonyi.

Kenya has seen youth-led protests over the Finance Bill, which they believe will increase the tax burden on citizens.   (Source: Image by wirestock on Freepik)
Kenya has seen youth-led protests over the Finance Bill, which they believe will increase the tax burden on citizens.
(Source: Image by wirestock on Freepik)

"For the avoidance of doubt, the authority has no intention whatsoever to shut down Internet traffic or interfere with the quality of connectivity," Mugonyi added.

Moreover, Mugonyi added that such acts would be a betrayal of the Constitution, freedom of expression, and Kenya's character.

"Further, such actions would sabotage our fast-growing digital economy as internet connectivity supports thousands of livelihoods across the country," he continued.

Mugonyi though, advised Kenyans to use the Internet in a way that respects everyone and adheres to the law.

African countries shutting down Internet

African countries have been known to shut down or restrict Internet connectivity to establish control.

In February this year, Senegal's authorities shut down mobile Internet after the country's president at the time, Macky Sall, postponed the presidential elections scheduled for February 25, 2024.

That shutdown was the third one in Senegal in a space of nine months. In June 2023, the country cut access to mobile Internet in certain areas and at certain times, following violent protests.

During Zambia's election in 2021, the government blocked access to social media platforms.

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In the same year, mobile operator MTN was taken to court in Eswatini for blocking Internet services to its users in the country during a week of anti-monarchy protests.

During Uganda's elections in 2021, the country's communications regulator ordered Internet service providers to block all social media platforms and messaging apps.

After the death of a protester in a scuffle with police in March 2021, Senegal also blocked social media apps.

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*Top image source: Image by freepik.

— Matshepo Sehloho, Associate Editor, Connecting Africa

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