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Owalo: ICT reforms will create synergy, eliminate redundancies

ICT Cabinet Secretary Eliud Owalo

The Ministry of Information, Communication and Digital Economy has embarked on a mission to make reforms in the sector policy-wise, legally and legislatively.

Information Communication Technology Cabinet Secretary Eliud Owalo said there is a need to shun away from the laws that governed the Kenya Broadcasting Act, Kenya Information and Communication Act, and Postal Corporation of Kenya Act, all dating back to 25 years ago.

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“It is also significant that when these laws were enacted, the ICT function did not exist as one of the roles of the Ministry. Today, it not only exists, it is also a full-fledged State Department. It is a most important function, alongside the Digital Economy, as another component of the State Department for ICT and Digital Economy that did not exist 25 years ago, “he said.

According to the CS, there have been changes in technology which have affected social interactions, the nature of work, education, finance, and business; among other aspects of life. This has presented new opportunities to players in all subsectors; be they telecommunications, broadcasting, courier services, and ICT generally, among others.

Digital media and other avenues are fast changing the landscape but have come with challenges such as cyber insecurity, cybercrime and national security.

The springing up of new technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), cryptocurrency and other digital assets need to be accommodated but are not sufficiently addressed in law and policy.

“Given that technology is changing very rapidly, more changes are certainly bound to come.  In contemplating these changes, we must go beyond piecemeal and ad hoc reform interventions. The risk of inharmonious sets of laws is very real, in piecemeal and ad hoc situations,” he said.

The teams that will chair the reforms include:

  1. Information, Communications and The Digital Economy Sectoral Reforms Working Group

Prof Timothy Mwololo Mwaema as the chairman, Phylis Migwi as the vice chair and Dr Hanningtone Joel Gaya as the vice chairman responsible for Broadcasting and Telecommunication sectoral reforms.

  1. Strategic Theme/Key Result Area No. 1(ICT Sectoral Reforms.

Prof Christopher Kipchumba Chepken, Marshal Luusa, Angela Wamola, and Col(Dr)James Kimuyu among others.

  1. Strategic Theme/Key Result Area No. 2(Broadcasting And Telecommunications Sectoral Reforms)

Prof Dr Thomas AnyanjeSenaji, Thomas Mshindi Nyamancha, Zubeida Kananu, Prof Tom Olali and Eng Vincent Adul.

Spearheading the Joint Secretariat will be Maina Christopher Karanja of the State Law Office, Dr Eric Kibet of the High Court and Dr Layla Latiff among other members.

The mandate of the Ministry has expanded over time to include ICT and the Digital Economy hence the need to accommodate these roles in law and policy frameworks to ensure synergy and eliminate multiplication of roles and redundancies.

Sally Namuye
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