New communication rules: Kenya refuses to sign on

Wednesday December 19 2012

By CHARLES WOKABI [email protected]

Kenya has refused to sign the new International Communication Regulations put together by a conference last week as divisions rocked the country’s delegation.

Sources who attended the World Conference on International Telecommunications said Information and Communications permanent secretary Bitange Ndemo took a different stance from what was adopted by technocrats from the Communications Commission of Kenya.

Kenya pulled a last minute stunt as Dr Ndemo gave a different stand from what African countries had agreed upon as the continent’s position.

The dispute was on whether or not internet should be included under the regulations of the International Telecommunications Union, the United Nations specialised regulatory agency for information and communication technologies.

“We did not and still don’t see any reason why we did not sign the treaty because we had agreed. Basically the PS refused to sign and we don’t understand the idea behind it,” CCK director general Francis Wangusi told the Nation in a telephone interview.

The conference, held in Dunai, brought together government delegates from all over the world to review the international communication regulations -the global treaty designed to facilitate international interconnection and interoperability of information and communication services.

But Dr Ndemo had indicated he would not support the inclusion of internet in the ITU regulations even before he left the country for the conference.

“Why would we want to change anything? This period that ITU has not been regulating internet there have been tremendous innovations. ICANN (a multi-stakeholder arrangement) has worked very well in the past. You try to give your freedom on internet to ITU and by the time you wake up, government will be 20 km away with your freedom,” he said in an earlier interview.

Malawi and Gambia also refused to sign to the treaty.