ICT players praise exit of Matiang’i

By: LILIAN OCHIENG

Dr Fred Matiang’i’s move from the ICT ministry came as a relief to industry stakeholders who noted that he overstepped his mandate during his tenure.

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s reshuffle on Tuesday last week moved Dr Matiang’i to the Education ministry, nominating Mr Joseph Mucheru, Google regional lead for Sub-Saharan Africa and country manager for Kenya, to take up the position.

Industry stakeholders have termed the reshuffle as timely, accusing Dr Matiang’i of over-stepping his mandate by interfering with matters of regulation.

They include dominance, which should be left to the Communications Authority of Kenya by law, while the ICT ministry oversees the policy.

“The reshuffle in the ICT ministry is an excellent development in our view,” said telecom lobby group ICT Association of Kenya Secretary-General Kamotho Njenga.

“We would want to give credit where it is due, but there is little to write home about with regard to the outgoing CS as far as achievements are concerned,” he said.

Mr Njenga added that; “The ministry has undergone a troubling scale of policy failure during his tenure at the helm.”

Consumer Federation of Kenya boss Stephen Mutoro said during the Cabinet minister’s reign, the digital momentum generated by his predecessors over time was brought down.

“The Konza project, universal service access, digitisation campaign, the National Optic Fibre Backbone project, among others that were quite vibrant, have suffered severe setbacks attributable to leadership challenges,” said Mr Mutoro in a phone interview last week.

Mr Mutoro said the digital migration was also poorly executed under the supervision of the outgoing Cabinet secretary, leaving a large section of Kenyans outside the bracket as they could not afford signal converters.