In Africa cases of countries restricting internet access during election times are common .Governments sometimes shut down or restrict the use of internet and access to social media platforms arguing that its aimed at maintaining security.
Uganda for example, in the run-up to its general election in January 2021, internet access was restricted and online users were unable to access some apps and some sites because the government had issued an order to service providers to block all internet connectivity on the eve of election day on 14 January leading to a total shut down in connectivity as was reported by Internet monitoring organisation Netblocks .
Tanzanian Government also restricted access to the internet and social media applications during elections in October 2020 .
Kenya however has not shut down its internet services and some netizens from neighbouring countries like Uganda are shocked that the government is yet to disconnect the internet and social media.
On Monday which was the election eve, celebrated TV journalist Simon Kaggwa Njala on his Twitter account wrote,“This is shocking. Kenyans have internet on the eve of elections.”
In Uganda, the internet was blocked and none of them could access social media until five days later when the election results had been announced.
Kenya’s National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) had suggested it would block Facebook during the election following allegations that the there was increase in hate speech utterances on the platform.
The suggestion was however overturned by Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i who explained that Kenya is a ‘mature’ democracy and the government does not intend to limit the freedom of expression.
Uganda’s elections were also characterized with a lot of violence such as arrests of leading opposition politicians while Kenyans have enjoyed peace through the campaign period and during the actual voting day.
Although there have been reports of widespread KIEMS kit failure in several polling stations across the country, IEBC commissioner Justus Nyang’aya denied saying, ” only 200 kits had been reported to have malfunctioned “
“What we have received and addressed is about 200 failure of KIEMS kits out of 46,229 kits, this is not a widespread break down,” Nyanga’aya told the media.