Artificial Intelligence at KeSIG

Artificial Intelligence

By Margaret Nyambura.

Artificial intelligence that is popularly known as “AI’’is one of the topic that we had during the 2019 Kenya School of Internet Governance. The Artificial Intelligence technology is here to stay and no longer a thing of the past. What started as a research project on how AI works, has now become a global trend of transitioning from manual way of solving complex issues and especially those to do data entry and processing that is collected by big multinational companies such as Facebook, Huawei, and Safaricom . The components of AI are data, Algorithms, outputs, decisions, and training.

The use of AI has now become so important in sectors such as agriculture where drones are being used in monitoring the weather patterns, and gathering data. However there is a need to come up with policies and laws that help regulate AI. This data is later used in research work. Some Government organisations such as Kenya Bureau of Statistics collects data over a period of time to help in planning for infrastructure, health care services, and education among other areas. The use of AI while collecting data ensures that it is done on time, and it is factual in  determining the population growth of citizens over a period of time. AI systems feeds on data.

Here in Kenya, companies such as Safaricom are using AI technology in engaging the youth. The AI application chatbox by Safaricom called ‘’Zuri’’ help customers perform a wide range of tasks. This could replace some customer care services roles that are normally conducted by people.

Zuri can be able to handle over 17 million Safaricom customers and is able to perform tasks like manage subscription services including viewing subscriptions and unsubscribing from chargeable SMS services.  Zuri can handle other roles that includes the M-PESA reversals, buying bundles, airtime top up and checking M-PESA and airtime balances.

Safaricom was the first telecommunication company to create ZURI chatbot software that can simulate a conversation or a chat with a user in a natural language through messaging, websites, mobile apps or even through the phone.

A chatbot has often been described as one of the most advanced and promising expressions of interaction between humans and machines. That’s why they’re very important in the customer’s journey. In fact, according to Gartner, by 2020 chatbots will be handling no less than 85% of all customer service interactions, so this tells you how Safaricom’s Zuri and any other chatbot are important at this day and age.

Multinational companies such as IBM are now using AI for medical imaging known as Watson Health that is helping to create meaningful change in the health sector with over 15,000 clients and partners. Some of these health conditions would have been difficult to diagnose without the use of AI. The current statistics state that more than 295,000 patients have been affected by Watson Health.  99% of the data is recorded through artificial intelligence.

What we should know as digital technology users is that a lot is going to change in the coming years on how we shall be using AI in medicine, banking, and automobile sector and how AI shall be utilized in addressing complex issues.

AI technology has its own challenges and biases for instance, research has shown that Self-driving cars more likely to drive into black people. Another challenge could be that the older generation might find it hard to grasp the emerging technologies such as AI as the saying goes, ‘’It is difficult to change old people but can only convince them with working ideas.’’

Margaret Mwangi is a Media and communication Specialist who has gained experience in radio production, videography, photo editing and article writing the last 16 years. She has worked for both TV and Radio as a news reporter, a translator of news from English to Kiswahili, a radio producer, as a TV production assistant in various media houses which include Royal media services, Family media, Radio Mama 107.1 FM and GBS TV. She has also been a freelance writer for Association of Media Women in Kenya publications such as ‘’ The Dawn, Inuka, 86 And Counting’’ among other. She is currently a contributing writer and a photographer for Mkazi which is an online publication.
Twitter: @maggieezbon
LinkedIn: Margaret Mwangi


Written by Mwara Gichanga

Kenya’s financial sector is on the brink of yet another sweeping revolution that will define the playing field in the next decades to come: financial technology.

Fintech, as it is increasingly being referred to, is taking the industry by storm, causing a major disruption becoming a trailblazer and redefining the financial sector in the nationally, region and globally.

In this day of fast paced technological innovations, disruption is the new norm: Uber, Pesalink and M-PESA are all good examples of what technology can do to reconfigure the way we live.

Eric and Francis both agree that the Kenyan Business Environment is certainly conducive for Fintech as Disruption as it turns out, is as much a form of social evolution as it is of technological improvements, internet penetration levels are really high compared to other African states which gives Kenya a great advantage for mobile money transfer.

Banks incorporating FinTech to their solutions

The Banking sector is  actually at the fore front of integrating financial technology into their systems, with the introduction of Pesalink which is a money transfer service from a local Kenya Shillings bank account to another local Kenya Shillings bank account in real-time. It is a collaboration between all local banks who are members of the Kenya Bankers Association (KBA) and is managed by Integrated Payment Services Limited (IPSL) which is a subsidiary of KBA. PesaLink is real-time, available 24/7 and you can transfer from as low as KES 10 to as high as KES. 999,999. It is also safe since it eliminates the use of cash as a mode of payment.

With this high rate of adoption of digital financing in Kenya is considered among the highest in Africa. Kenya is now recognized as the home of mobile money, reaping the benefits that come along with it.

But with this subsequent growth, risk is invertible and questions have to be asked especially those that enable and frame policy that will foster growth in this sector.

A new law needs to be enacted yesterday to enable Africa’s first virtual bank to be born in Kenya. Not Nigeria. Not South Africa. This is the birth place of Mpesa for crying out loud! Where we account for 10% of all global mobile money transactions! Yet we have a policy and regulatory regime that is still steeped in the physical cash economy.


We need to consolidate our gains by opening up the policy and regulatory framework to make it easy and fast to move to the next phase of this Fintech Innovation.’’ AliHussein

Will block chain technology affect the market?

The transformation of the financial services industry is top-of-mind for everyone in the field and blockchain might be the hottest topic in the rapidly changing world of Fintech. But how can this technology really help financial firms? This report from World Economic Forum takes a pragmatic approach to answering this question.


Concerns over bitcoin and its underlying technology

Crypto currencies such as bitcoin have started being hyped by block chain enthusiasts. However, the moment CBK will recognise it, its true effect will be seen. Francis Monyango

Similar sentiments were shared by Eric Mwangi who argued that in every conversation it is said that “Bitcoin is here and will change everything”. He continued to explain that what all those Crypto-pundits fail to remember or read about is at the beginning of the boom there were Netscape, Yahoo, AOL, Lycos Alsta Vista etc. the outcome yielded different winners: Amazon Google, Salesforce etc.

Again, as with there is something the larger public don’t understand. While the media mulls over Bitcoin and and gives credence to a slew of people proclaiming a “decentralised network that no one will own” to a naive public and convincing them to dump millions into “ICO”, there is something else happening. Consider FAAMG (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Google) do you think it’s a coincidence they are major deployments for many Blockchain networks?

As with previous games the winners are already taking in massive rewards because they are already hooked into an existing IT and Banking Infrastructure. Currently investments are only flowing into Blockchain infrastructure that must be enterprise grade. Same as the Internet didn’t make IT departments irrelevant, Blockchain will not replace IT departments. What will change is the speed and types of skillset needed in it. There will be no immediate shift to everything Blockchain – there will be long periods of co-existing and integration with existing IT systems. However Blockchain will lead to a strong surge in cloud adoption.

The consequence of Blockchain among consumers will be most felt in Infrastructure were developments relating to Identity, Privacy and Security are taking shape.




Highlights: Facebook Open house Ke

Written by Mwara Gichanga

As the world’s biggest social network, Facebook has held a contentious place in the ongoing debate about what role social media is playing in how information is spread around the world today. The norm is that more conversations has moved online and with that a lot of hateful, ugly and false information as well. Facebook has therefore taken responsibility to counter attack content that is unwarranted by creating a platform dubbed hard questions to encourage community reporting so as help the platform  flag down such content.

Facebook in conjunction with The Kenya ICT Action Network(KICTANET) brought the conversation home by organizing an open house at Villa Rossa Kempisnski Nairobi, to spark conversation about Facebook’s role in reporting and flagging down content that is considered hate speech and one that is false and incites violence, especially now that Kenya is approaching the elections. With the hashtag of event agreedupon through public participation #OpenHouseKE

The event saw the CS of ICT Joe Mucheru joining in on this critical conversations as questions on what his ministry is doing to cub the issues of cyberbullying and fake news, the CS was careful to point out the importance on person online responsibility and further encouraging that action starts with the mwananchi taking initiative on reporting on such cases on social media platforms like Facebook, giving an example of Mutahi Ngunyi’s Youtube channel which the CS thinks should be taken down as it crosses the line of freedom of expression and hate speech.

Ebele OkobiHead of Public Policy in Africa highlighted the importance of community reporting, as Facebook has 2 billion users and only a fraction of that population report cases of , Ebele continued by explaining that FB content regulation is global, there are no rules for specific countriestherefore the company announced a new plan to add 3,000 more people to its operations  to the additional 4,500 to be able to screen for harmful videos and other posts so as to respond to them more quickly in the future.

One of the more prominent question at the open house was issues of context and intent measure when it comes to what content gets pulled down and Ebele explained that figuring out what constitutes hate speech and what should be removed is the largest challenge Facebook faces. Sometimes it’s appallingly obvious when hate speech is just that and there sometimes, there isn’t a clear consensus because the words themselves are ambiguous, the intent behind them is unknown or the context around them is unclear.  So, in order to figure out what actually is hate speech, the company looks at context and intent before taking action and works with growing public policy support together with the community to establish the ever evolving intent in content.

Facebook is working with local groups in Kenya such as Article 19, calling the working group Trust Flags to pick out serial reporters and also help Facebook understand context.

On Fakes News Ebele spoke on media houses and bloggers working on ethical credibility on news or information shared and their responsibility to the  public by promoting education  on news literacy.

The issues were too broad to cover at the limited time at the open house but as pointed out by Grace Githiaga a co-convener at KICTANET the conversation still continues on the KICTANET mailing list, so that the public is able interact with Facebook and have a deeper know how on applying the laws that govern us offline do the same online.




Cyber-bullying: Highlights of KIGF 2017 Online discussions

Article written by Mwara Gichanga

As the online discussions carried on throughout the week, online/cyber-bullying also came up as point of discussion especially in this digital era where most conversations have moved from offline to online platforms.

To grasp the gravity of the issues concerning online bullying we must first understand what it is.

Ronald Ojino described Cyber-bullying as any form of bullying which takes place online and is available on a range of platforms including new interactive apps, games consoles, social networks etc. where most young people spend their time.

What are the Trends?

Statistics show that 87% of today’s youth have witnessed cyberbullying (mcfeeintel security) and nearly 69% have experienced it, 41% of that being Girls while 28% Boys (cyber-bullying research centre)

‘’ In regards to online bullying neither us nor our children are safe. There have recently been deaths directly attributable to cyber bullying where a lady committed suicide and online crime waves like the Blue Whale Challenge.’’ Rosemary Koech

One of the now evolving trends of cyber bullying is the term dimmed ‘Revenge Porn’ and Francis explained it as when a victims private information in form of images or conversations are exposed to the public through social media platforms after a disagreement. An example is Kimindiri and Roshanara Ebrahim. In the case of Roshanara Ebrahim V Ashley Kenya Limited & 3 others (2016), the High Court found that her ex-boyfriend had breached her right to privacy under Article 31 (c). For the breach, the court asked him to pay Ksh. 1 million.

Challenges tackling the offense?

In regards to capacity there is need to invest heavily in cybercrime units in the police force and generally have operations digitized so that our forces are equipped to deal with the new frontier for crime.

One of the main challenges in tackling the offense are finding the main perpetrators, like in instances of mass cyber bullying where stories go viral in various channels, it may be impossible to even know the person who originally posted.’’ Rosemary Koech


What should be done to address this offense?

Kenya Information and Communication Act CAP 411A has not addressed cyber-bullying as an offense, perhaps it’s time the Kenyan government considers revising the statute books to legislate against cyber-bullying to encourage a conducive environment for all online user. Once the section is amended, agencies such as the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) and the Kenya Police should take the lead in creating awareness about cyber-bullying and how to respond to it.

Mildred, Rosemary and Ronald suggested that Charity begins at home and so does bullying. Bullies are created, not born, so the family situation also needs to be addressed. Parents and teachers should have access to tools that can be used to monitor their children’s online activities.

Working with social media platforms such as Facebook to able to flag down abusive/ victimizing content from users, is also a way to stop cyberbullying content/language at its source.


Open issues to be addressed.

Is bullying gloried in Kenyan TV shows and songs?

Should criminal law be used to curb cyber bullying?

KESIG 2017: Highlights of Day 3

Written by Samuel Muchiri, KESIG 2017 participant.

If man was left to their own nature it would be very chaotic hence laws are necessary to regulate human affairs and the internet is no exception to this as it was explained by Victor Kapiyo during introduction to legal issues that emanate from this space. There are no universally agreed laws in governing the internet as it is border less, has multi-stakeholder environment and needs cooperation.

Privacy of information is aligned by one’s perception of how private they regard it to be. Gathering of this information by government and businesses has become an area that has led to development of legislation around it. Individual’s information has become a commodity to trade with and hence selling customer’s data is a lucrative business.

Globally both self-regulation and regulation through authorities has become an accepted way of managing data protection. Cyber-crime has been a major threat to this as rise in heinous acts like phishing of user data.

Another new trend being implemented by governments is internet shutdown (an intentional disruption of internet or electronic communications, rendering them inaccessible or effectively unusable to a specific population or within a location, often to exert control over the flow of information)as explained by Grace Bomu. Justification for this has been from managing national crises during general elections, national examination, insecurity issues etc.

There are various channels used to participate and contribute in this environment. During the Internet Policy engagement session facilitated by Liz Orembo, participants listed the various platforms they have used to engage in ICT policies These include: parliament, KICTANet and public institutions through their call for public participation. Organization like ICANN, ISOC, DIPLO, KICTANet facilitate training into various domains and also offer fellowships to those who apply for this. These forums have provided growth and development of policy through their open and inclusive approach .

“For one to be in the internet economy one has to start with a domain” Abdalla C.E.O of Kenic stated as delved into explaining the business case behind domain and their genesis. gTLD eg .com, .net and ccTLD .ke for Kenya .tz for Tanzania are regard as top level domains followed by third level domains e.g., A new development was introduction of 2nd level domains that go live from the 23rd July, 2017. This creates an opportunity for domain registrars to gain more revenue channels but also invite cyber squatters (buys a domain and seats on it) into the space.

As passionately put by Gbenga Sessan of Paradigm Initiative the Internet to us was once a thing of wonder – we take it lightly that we send and receive message at press of a button while international postal mail took 3months to get to its destination. We’ve moved from the wonder of access to utilization of internet in health, education, businesses, etc. The real focus of policy should be how to plug Africa’s talent gap with Internet opportunities.

KESIG 2017: Highlights of Day 2

Written by Samuel Muchiri, KESIG 2017 participant.

Internet stakeholders are major contributors to the development and governance of Internet. They were termed as entities that use the internet as was defined by Mwendwa Kivuva of Afrnic. Internet governance categorizes them into 5 or 6 groups that is the government, civil society, business community, technical community, academia and arguably as it was highly debated media.

From a much narrower perspective we also looked at actors who shape and manage the Internet. Some of the major organizations that came out from this discussion are IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) that help set technical standards, RIR’s (Regional Internet Registry) that help distribute internet protocol resource around the world etc.

The Internet model is characterized by an open and free accessible process in development of technical standards and development of policy – the course of action starts from end user e.g. engineers to organization that approve these decisions e.g. ICANN, IETEF.  Forward thinking governments have been involved in these processes although some have come through a learning process into embracing multistakeholderism in which these organizations support.

The development of internet has gone through major milestones in Kenya from the use of satellite communication to undersea fiber optic cables. From use of international channels of connectivity to localization of traffic through Kenyan internet exchange point. From high transit prices of up to $2000 per MB to $4per MB and all this have been Progress within the last 8years. Development of Technical standards have not been left behind either and as put by Kevin Chege of ISOC “open standards enable permission-less innovations e.g. YouTube”

Internet governance (IG) in our country has crossed major hurdles just like the development of Internet. IG was first brought about by technical vs human right contention that arose as was explained by Alice Munyua of Africa Union during her presentation on history of Internet governance. Internet was initially meant for government in and through transitional government National Rainbow Coalition – multistakeholderism was achieved. First government body was established to deal with this and hence the launch of Communications Authority of Kenya. Multistakeholder brought with it challenges and some of them were; it was viewed as a tedious and expensive process, stand-off between government vs civil society and non-governmental organizations, it is hard for government to control internet.

Other challenges that Internet  brought with it that are becoming increasingly had to manage is Cyber-crime which has constantly become a potent issue to deal with. According to 2016 Africa Cyber Security report published by SERIANU crime in Kenya had soared to $ 175 million in 2016. As William Makatiani explained that a typical cyber-criminal in Kenya take their time in surveying their environment and destroy evidence behind their acts hence it become hard for persecution. Emerging reasons for this insecurity were that we do not know ourselves, our enemies, hackers are getting smarter and also that we don’t learn from our mistakes.

“it is important to understand how internet works for us to be able to discuss about internet governance” (AliceMunyua)

KESIG 2017: Highlights of day 1

Written by Samuel Muchiri, KESIG participant.

“Because of internet’s nature it cannot be governed by a single sector – it has a lot of “haki yetu”” said Grace Githaiga during her opening remarks at the opening of this year’s start of Kenya School of Internet Governance.

The idea of Kenya School of Internet Governance (KSIG) was first realized in the year 2015 that lead to the development and participation in other forums like Kenya Internet Governance Forum. This creates a platform for representation at regional forums like East Africa Internet Governance Forum, Africa Internet Governance Forum (IGF) and Global IGF.

The main objective of KSIG is to build capacity in understanding internet governance. In this regard Facebook has been an adherent in helping facilitate interactive forums like KISG through their African policy advocacy program.

Dr. Waudo Siganga of Computer Society of Kenya gave a brief history of the internet from its conception to the current status. One of the notable and most recurring trend was that governments were not involved through this development apart from the US government. He also mentioned last year’s major transition of IANA (International Assigned Numbers Authority) that is the coordination and management of the Internet’s unique identifiers to the private-sector, a process that had been committed to and underway since 1998.

Internet Governance (IG) was said to entail both technical infrastructure and public policy issues. According to Word Summit Information Society IG could be defined as the evolving policies and mechanisms under which the Internet community’s many stakeholders make decisions about the development and use of the Internet.

Different international organization have classified IG into various categories that emerge from this endeavor. DIPLO a non-profit foundation that works to improve global governance and international policy development, classified the issues as follows; Infrastructure and standards, legal, Development, economic and social cultural.

Some of the emerging issues as brought out by Judy Okitte from FOSSFA were cyber security, legal, taxation, economic and human rights – that cut across this fields. One of the predominant note that came out when rights were discussed was that “offline rights apply online”.

End user pain points were deemed lack of better infrastructure (provision, accessibility, cost) and human rights – child online protection. The participants passionately expressed the need to see change and development in those areas.


By Samuel Muchiri

Understanding Internet Governance

Written by Jefferson Anyega: KESIG 2017 participant.

The Kenya School of Internet Governance, presently in its second edition, focuses on raising awareness about emerging internet governance issues. The definition of internet governance has evolved over the years as stakeholders understanding of its role in shaping the digital era changed. The World Summit on Information Society, a UN sponsored organization, defined internet governance in 2005 as, “the development and application by governments, the private sector and civil society, in their respective roles, of shared principles, norms, rules, decision-making procedures, and programs that shape the evolution and use of the internet”.

Definition of terms in internet governance include:
Cyber security: the technologies, processes and networks that provide protection to networks, data, computers and programs from damage, unauthorized access and attacks.

Cyber-squatting: The practice of registering names of well-known brands with the aim of profiting from their resale

Internet Service Providers: corporations that provide access to the internet

Net neutrality: the principle that internet service providers (ISPs) should provide access to all applications and content regardless of their source and without discrimination.

Domain Name Server:the internet system that converts alphabetic names to IP addresses.

Zero-rating: the practice of mobile phone operators, mobile virtual network operators (MVNO), and Internet service providers (ISP) providing free access to some applications.

Importance of internet governance
The increasing digitization of modern life, from how we find and choose mates, to how we find and conduct work, to how we learn and transact underscores the importance of effective internet governance. Every person in Kenya and around the world has been affected by the internet. Effective policing of this powerful infrastructure is essential in protecting the rights of end users and promoting sustainable development of the digital ecosystem.

The Kenya ICT Action Network is inspired by recognition that effective internet governance relies on a bottom up approach where the stakeholders drive the development of policies on the sector. Stakeholders can be categorized into the following groups:

  •  Government: States regulate the internet within their jurisdictions, creating policies that govern the transactions of users and providing protections for their people.
  •  Technical community
  • Academia
  • Civil Society
  • Business
  • Media

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)was established in 1948 under contract to the US Department of Commerce. The board of Directors of the non-profit organization, headquartered in California, holds the final authority on the decision-making process in the development of internet standards. It manages the global Domain Name System (DNS), a worldwide network of databases that maps domain names to IP addresses. The DNS is critical in creating an enabling infrastructure that supports the scalable, singular and universal internet. Although members of ICANN elect representatives to its board of directors, many observers believe that the United States holds disproportionate influence over the organization because of their legacy relationship. ICANN is an important issue in the discussion of internet governance because it is transnational, holds centralized control over the internet, a privilege that is only shared by a few entities;it’s dominated by non-state actors and is perceived to be under the influence of the United States.

The issues
The reliance of organizations and individuals on the internet for their commercial transactions highlights the need for developing an effective taxation policy to ensure the government benefits from its investment in creating a robust infrastructure. In Kenya, people have increasingly embraced the internet as a platform for selling their services and products. However, the Kenya Revenue Authority is yet to provide guidelines on the taxation of the platform. Similarly, the rise of online work in Kenya underpinned by the government’s creation of the Ajira program to create employment opportunity for youths in Kenya raises questions on how digital labor can be taxed.
Human rights is also an important issue, with Mr. Henry Maina, speaking at the convention, highlighting three key factors that must be considered in interrogating the laws that passed by the government.

  •  Any limitation that is passed by the government on online users must also be provided for in law.
  •  The limitations should be necessary in a democratic society with the purpose of protecting public order, public morality and preserving the rights of others.
  • The limitations must be proportional and proportionate to the goal it intends to promote.
  • The enactment of digital laws should pass a critical litmus test; that international human rights law should be applicable both online and offline.

Government shutdowns of the internet have been an important discussion between the tech ecosystem and the media. China, Cuba and Iran feature prominently among countries that repress internet freedoms in their jurisdiction. However, as individuals and corporates rely heavily on the internet for commerce, it is important to interrogate the financial cost of government shutdowns, their constitutionality and the compensation that can be afforded stakeholders who incur material losses when they occur. Is it even possible for a government to effectively shut down the internet anymore?

Challenges in internet governance
The primary challenge facing the evolution of internet governance involves the unwillingness of the government policy makers to recognize the need for a multi-stakeholder approach in formulating effective, practical and acceptable regulations. However, through organizations such as KICTAnet, the government of Kenya has demonstrated a willingness to engage with all stakeholders in shaping the future of the internet in the country.

The development of practical and enforceable policies remains a critical challenge for internet regulators. For instance, provisions of the data protection Act, as discussed in different parts of the world highlights the difficulties that governments may face in their implementation. Presently, Kenya lacks a data protection law, creating challenges for individuals who may feel that their rights have been infringed. The Data Protection Act bill is still under discussion, providing an opportunity for stakeholders to start their participation in shaping the future of the internet.

Discussions on internet governance are contentious because of the plurality of views on how the internet should work. Purists believe the internet should have minimal regulation, an ideology that is rooted in the nascent stages of the technology, but is increasingly removed from the amorphous nature of digital sprawl, as every aspect of human life becomes digitized. Governments believe that national security should be the primary consideration in the regulation of the internet while the private sector believes that minimal regulation and free market principles should be embraced. The sweet spot in internet regulation will inevitably feature tradeoffs between multiple concerns, with an emphasis on protecting the dignity and privacy of end users.

The lack of awareness on internet governance has undermined stakeholder participation as few people, even professionals in the ICT sector recognize its importance and are engaged in its evolution. In particular, Africa has not been actively engaged in shaping the evolution of internet governance. In spite of this observation, programs such as the Kenya school of internet governance are playing an important role in raising the importance of the subject in Kenyan society.

Opportunities in internet Governance
The Diplo Foundation offers a Masters in multilateral diplomacy with a minor in Internet Governance, an essential course in creating policy makers who recognize international relations are increasingly going to be shaped by ICT agreements between governments and multinational organizations.
Every person should be interested in internet governance because of the critical role it plays in our lives and the impact that policies have on how we communicate, work and play. Participation in internet governance debates is essential because it contributes towards shaping the internet that we use. In this case, the adage, “if you not at the table, you are on the menu” is very well alive.

Jefferson Anyega-KESIG participant, 2017.

Safeguarding Free Speech Online in an Electoral Context

It is an election period in Kenya. A season of loud hope that your
favourite politician will win and the quiet fear of electoral
violence. This fear is due to our unhealed scars from the 2007
post-election violence. Other than the fact that the results of that
election were contested, the violence has been blamed on hate speech
by politicians. This is the primary reason why our constitution,
expressly prohibits hate speech in Article 33(2) of the constitution.

Ten years later, with internet penetration at over 50% and widespread
membership to social media sites, there is fear that hate will be
propagated on online forums. To ensure that we do not get a repeat of
inter-ethnic electoral violence like in the year 2007/2008, concerned
bodies have suggested ways to counter possible hate speech online.
Some in government quarters have suggested internet shutdowns to
counter this. Others have called for responsibility online.

In the upcoming Kenya Internet Governance Forum that will take place
on the 6th July 2017 at Laico Regency, various thought leaders in the
internet governance space will discuss how we can ensure freedom of
expression online during this election period.

Article By Francis Monyango

Kenya Internet Governance Forum turns 10

According to Alice Munyua former Chair of the Kenya Internet Governance Forum and Convener of the Kenya ICT Action Network , the Internet Governance Forum  has the most impact at national level (Kenya IGF Report, 12 August 2016).

The forum has promoted the use of the multistakeholder model in public policy development across different sectors namely government, civil society, academia, private sector and the technical community. Stakeholders of varied backgrounds who have participated in the annual forum for the last ten years have gone ahead and implemented the model in their respective sectors. In the year 2010 and as a result of increased use of the model across different sectors of the Kenyan economy, multistakeholderism was embedded in the Kenyan constitution thus becoming a mandatory process in public policy development processes.  Key sectors that have benefited from the multistakeholder model include information and communications technology through development of the Kenya ICT policy 2006 and 2016, health sector through  development of  the Kenya Health Policy 2014 – 2030, the private sector which created their own association the Kenya Private Sector Alliance and the Internet Community which created the Kenya Network Information Centre the country code top level domain registry for Kenya.

The Kenya Internet Governance Forum  has over the years brought together various actors who had previously been operating in silos rendering them ineffective. Using the multi stakeholder model, the forum has brought together actors from various stakeholder groupings such as government thereby  building their capacity on electronic government, private sector (electronic business), academia (electronic learning) Civil Society (online activism), media (online reporting) and the technical community (electronic collaboration). Collaborative efforts that emanated from multi stakeholder processes resulted in projects such as The East African Marine System (TEAMS) a submarine cable built through local  public and  private sector partnerships which  lowered the cost of the Internet in Kenya considerably thus opening up a new world of innovation and electronic commerce in the country.

Another positive outcome of the multi stakeholder framework of collaboration championed by the Kenya Internet Governance Forum was the launch and eventual commissioning of the National Optic Fibre Backbone (NOFBI) which connected all administrative centre’s in the country. The National Optic Fibre Backbone enabled countrywide roll out of electronic government services such as the Integrated Financial Management System IFMIS which is used to manage the government payroll and procurement process and Kenya Revenue Authorities i-tax systems that significantly improved management and stewardship of the country’s financial resources by promoting accountability and effective collection of taxes.

By Barrack Otieno

The writer is an Associate of the Kenya ICT Action Network and a member of the Local Multi Stakeholder Advisory Group