The Kenyan government plans on monitoring social media conversations during the elections in a bid to forestall trouble.
In an attempt to monitor hate speech during the volatile election period, the Communications Authority in Kenya will monitor social media and mobile communications in the country.
Now, if things get out of hand during the elections, the Kenyatta-led government might shut down the Internet but it hopes things will not escalate to this level.
"We are using all possible means not to reach a level where the country can be in tension and force us maybe to take a drastic step," said CAK director general Francis Wangusi on Thursday, January 12, 2017, at a press conference.
"We hope we will not get there. Unless it gets out of hand, we do not see an Internet shutdown happening" further said CAK chairman Mr Ben Gituku.
As long as conversations on social media during the election period does not threaten national security, the Internet will not be shut down.
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There are some however who believe the monitoring of social media in Kenya is an infringement on the privacy of Kenyans.
In 2016, Uganda, Gambia and the Republic of Congo shut down the Internet access to citizens. In the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ethiopia, the Internet was shut down during periods of unrest in both countries.
Kenyans will go to the ballot on August 8, 2017, to vote for governors who are head of the county governments, senators, Members of Parliament, Women Representatives and Members of the County Assemblies.
The two main parties seeking to fight are the ruling Jubilee Party headed by the incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto and the opposition Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (Cord) led by former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka and Moses Wetang’ula.