Kenya has distanced itself from a US list of 60 signatories to an agreement that would require countries to shut down the internet arbitrarily.
Kenya, Cape Verde, Niger and Senegal are the only African countries on the List of US-led Declarations for the Future of the Internet (DFI).
The DFI also requires countries not to use the Internet to undermine election infrastructure and influence election results .
You also agree not to block or reduce access to lawful content, services and applications and to limit access to personal information by government agencies to the extent permitted by law.
Other listed signatories include the US, Germany, France, the UK, Japan and Ukraine.
Senior US government officials said the pact was aimed at “ gain weight attributed to digital authoritarianism, in which some states have acted to suppress freedom of expression, censor independent dependent news sources, disrupt elections, promote disinformation around the world, and deny their citizens other human rights.”
< p>The US said signatories to the pact have committed to “promoting a global Internet that promotes the free flow of information” and the protection of human rights.
“This declaration represents a political commitment by the partners to the declaration to promote a positive vision for the internet and digital technologies. It also reaffirms and recommits its partners to a single global Internet – one that is truly open and promotes competition, privacy and respect for human rights,” the White House said in a statement.
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But Government Spokesman Col. (Rtd) Cyrus Oguna dismissed the listing, calling it “incorrect “.
“We have been made aware of a statement posted on the US Government website regarding the Statement of the Future of the Internet. The declaration lists Kenya as one of the signatories to the said declaration,” said Mr. Oguna.
He said Kenya could only sign an international instrument after cabinet approval and ratification by the National Assembly for the said pact still to be done.
“The said statement is currently under review and based on the outcome of the process, Kenya will be able to state its position on the matter. Therefore, listing Kenya as a signatory is wrong,” he said.
The state’s denial comes just three months ahead of the crucial August general election, where high tensions are expected despite results expected to be delivered electronically.
In 2017, following the disputed August election, the Supreme Court ordered the Independent Elections and Boundaries Commission to allow the opposition access to its computer servers and electronic devices.
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In January 2018, the government shut down major local TV stations for days after broadcasting the sham swearing-in of Orange Democratic movement leader Raila Odinga as “People’s President”.