Kenya 'unlikely' to shut down internet during presidential vote

The government in Kenya is "unlikely" to shut down the internet during next month's presidential elections, an official said.

Communication Authority chief Francis Wangusi said they are not thinking of shutting down the internet but warned that it should not be used to release alternative election results.

He said they are tracking down words that are likely to lead to incitement and violence and whenever they find any they "pull the systems down".

Observers have warned of possible violence around the elections as in the past.

Kenya's government has pushed to set up cyber security systems ahead of the vote but has been vague on the capabilities of the systems, including for surveillance.

A spokesman for the leading opposition candidate, Raila Odinga, said they fear the systems will be used for election fraud.

Mr Odinga challenged President Uhuru Kenyatta's win in the 2013 elections, alleging that internet communication was set up among Mr Kenyatta's party, the electoral commission and a call centre that allowed electoral fraud.

The Supreme Court upheld Mr Kenyatta's win.

Mr Kenyatta is running for re-election.

Governments in neighbouring Burundi, Uganda and Ethiopia have shut down internet access during elections.

Rights defenders say such blackouts can facilitate serious abuses.

AP


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