During this week, President Uhuru Kenyatta signed the Computer Misuse and Cybercrimes Act of 2018, meaning this is becoming actual law, that all citizens of Kenya has to comply to. As this is the legal framework and provisions, that can incriminate or be used against the citizens. They are really prepared to assault the digital world and the ones putting content online.
Two of these provisions, which is really cracking down on the online content is article 22 & 23:
22:“A person who intentionally publishes false, misleading or fictitious data or misinforms with intent that the data shall be considered or acted upon as authentic, with or without any financial gain, commits an offence and shall, on conviction, be liable to a fine not exceeding five millions shillings or to imprisionment for a term not exceeding two years, or to both”.
23: “A person who knowingly publishes information that is false in print, broadcast, data, or over a computer system, that is calculated or results in a panic, chaos, or violence among citizens of the Republic, or which is likely to discredit the reputation of a person commits an offence and shall on conviction, be liable to a fine not exceeding five millions shillings or to imprisionment for a term not exceeding ten years or to both”.
This is clearly attacking and if they finds something as fake, they can make the people liable and criminal. While the Jubilee party and President signed this off, their own party should be careful signing this off. As they have worked with Cambridge Analytica and Harris Media, created fake news and also spread wrongful deceitful messaging online. This has been deliberate by them during the General Election of 2017, as well as the Jubilee has spread fictitious promises. Just like the fantastic trains and massive stadiums. Therefore, Kenyatta should know better.
They will use this law to go against the likes of Cyprian Nyakundi and others. The ones like the Elephant and others. Who are not spreading the message of the state, but are questioning their powers. Kenyatta knows this, even his own Presidential Strategic Communications Unit (PSCU), who spread the news of an honorary title from the UNICEF to Kenyatta. Which was false, I even got caught in the hype. I know I did, because it seemed like possible, as a month before the WHO gave a Mugabe a title too. Therefore, I got pissed and felt it was unfair to give a title for championing youths, when he destroyed the lives of plenty with the crackdown on protests during the elections.
Therefore, this sort of bill should make sure the PSCU also get arrested on their malicious content and propaganda. Even the planned messages from the team around the President should be spotless, however, the PSCU isn’t. They should have been, since the President has sanctioned these provisions. Why I am concerned, as they are putting restrictions on others, but the Social Media program of the state itself has been questionable and attacked the public itself.
We now can see what the state wants to do to its own citizens, as the are getting stronger provisions to follow and to track, in the end also making their content illegal. This is not just for safety, because these sorts of laws can be used against whistleblowers, and even the ones who drops data online on frauds and such. Since its damaging for the government, this might be a criminal offense for some.
What is the definition of a panic? Is it that Kenyatta cannot stomach a beer? Is it that DP Ruto don’t get a handshake? What is the stakes? Because the provisions that matters for most of the citizens are vague, meaning it depends on the interpretation of the officers and judges. That is not a good signal, that is a bad one, however, doubt the PSCU will get into trouble. More like bloggers, writers and television journalists that suddenly will be detained, because Kenyatta didn’t like what they said, wrote or broadcast. Peace.