COVID-19, has since its ferocious attack on the world literally paralyzed the old analogue, face to face way of doing business, learning in schools, universities, carrying out judicial processes, legislative processes to name just a few.
Working, meetings, interactions are now done on the digital platforms. The digital platform, the electronic platforms, are powered by broadband. So how are the counties of the former Western province of Kakamega, Bungoma, Busia, Vihiga and neighbouring Trans Nzoia served, anchored to the rest of the nation; How strong, reliable, and affordable is the internet in our counties? Are we still on the 3G Network? Why are most of the region not on the 4G network if that’s the situation? Have our County governments engaged the leading service providers-Safaricom, Airtel, Telkom – to supply the region with the necessary broadband? If not then why not?
It comes as a wonder then that we are as a region literally in a dark space when it comes to internet connectivity when all vital services can be accessed there.
Yes the internet, broadband goes hand in hand with availability of uninterrupted clean, stable electricity. The heavy rains continue to cause unacceptable power blackouts for long periods and therefore undermine our people’s access to the internet. The erratic, unstable power is damaging the electronic equipment of the residents at home or at their businesses.
COVID-19 is equally a wake up call on our region’s backwardness, unreliability of internet and electricity connectivity. Are those we elected aware of this shameful state of affairs, yet they have been in office under the devolution precepts for 7 years. Have our counties harnessed effectively the digital dividends that are within Kenya’s borders with multiple fibre optic infrastructure to supply internet or have they given it lip service because it is intangible?
We must re-evaluate our preparedness to compete in the digital world by investing, harnessing the ingredients that power the digital, electronic information world.