REMARKS BY GOVERNOR PETER MUNYA DURING THE OPENING OF KIKAO KIKUU FORUM AT MERU POLYTECHNIC
Chairman of the Communications Authority of Kenya,
Members of the County Assembly,
Officials from the National and County Government,
Staff of the Communications Authority of Kenya,
Members of the Media,
Meru County residents,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is indeed an honour and privilege to preside over the official opening of the Communications Authority of Kenya’s Eighth Edition of the County ICT Consumer Forum "Kikao Kikuu". I wish to commend the Communications Authority of Kenya for reaching out to the people of Meru County through the KIKAO KIKUU forum. Indeed, this move is in line with the objectives of the devolved government as provided for under the Constitution of Kenya 2010.
Let me at the very onset extend a warm welcome to you all to Meru County and trust that you shall enjoy our unrivalled hospitality. I am truly pleased to see the Authority proactively engaging the users of ICT services. It is an ideal platform for infusing the confidence in the use of ICT and making consumers see the real benefits of ICT. It is also well aligned to the government’s objective to increase public participation in decision making on issues that have direct impact on them.
I am equally elated that you selected a very timely theme, of Cyber security and Child Online Protection for the discussion. Our children are our future and it is therefore our responsibility to safeguard our future. Our Constitution lays great emphasis on the rights of the child and in particular protection from harm. Article 53 (d) specifically provides for every child the right to be protected from abuse, harmful cultural practices and all forms of violence. Indeed, the rights of the child occupy a special place not only in our supreme law, but also in our hearts. As parents, we are obligated to care for them, provide for their educational development and guard them against harm and negative influences in the society. I mention this because of its relevance not only in the physical but also the online world.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As a progressive County, our young people are not exempt. We recognize Internet as a wonderful vehicle for development on one hand and also a powerful tool for predators on innocent children. Children and young people now frequently use the Internet to learn, communicate, and interact socially with friends and peers; innovate, create and share content; and play and be entertained
Knowing the potential of ICT as an enabler of development in Meru County, it is of concern that the same gains are under threat from cyber criminals, whose objective is to illegally compromise online systems. This is a reality that every nation with robust ICT infrastructure faces. We are cognizant of the dangers and threat it has to individuals and economies; and it is our conviction that this menace must be dealt with fast.
We are pleased to note that the national government has also taken initial steps at developing a cyber security governance framework by imbuing the Communications Authority of Kenya with regulatory responsibilities and setting up of the Kenya Computer Incident Response Team Coordination Center (KE-CIRT/CC), which provides an important first step for national-level incident response. As users of ICT, we are pleased to note that there is continued quest to refine the cyber security governance model, define steady state and incident response roles and responsibilities; and expand KE-CIRT’s information relationships with the inclusion of partners both locally and internationally.
There is no doubt that it is important to be alert to the potential risks facing children when they are online. It is incumbent upon us to empower children in order to help them make full use of the Internet’s capabilities and values. It is also of key importance that every parent and guardian, teachers, institutions and other partners all work together to create safe and accessible environments for children and young people wherever they are irrespective of whether they are at home, at school, or in public facilities such as libraries or Internet cafés. It is everyone’s responsibility to create a safe environment, so that all children and young people can harness the positive aspects of the Internet.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Meru County is renowned for its endowment in agriculture, energy, tourism, education and other economic areas. We have great potential and ICT is anchored as a vehicle for development. In our County Integrated Development Plan of 2013-2017, we envision an empowered and knowledgeable county through provision of a robust IT and communications platform. It is our resolve to use technology to create awareness, inform and educate the people of Meru County, automate our processes in order to deliver services efficiently; and optimize the use of ICTs. Meru is one of the Counties with good mobile penetration and I wish to laud the CA for its efforts in ensuring that ICT services are available in all parts of this country. Through this engagement at KIKAO KIKUU, we are also confident that the combined goodwill, efforts and strategies in our development plans will help enhance connectivity even further to power ICTs.
My government has made great strides by embracing technology towards not just automation but process re-engineering, collaboration and enhanced public participation t. We have the roadmap that was developed in collaboration with ICTA and are getting ready to implement. We have developed our ICT policy and standards that guides our huge investments in this sector.
To realize our enormous growth and development expectations, we must exploit the power of technology especially internet and mobile devices. It’s to our advantage that the penetration of mobile devices in the country stands at 82.6% and growing. Currently over 70% of all phones sold are smart phones. Thus technology is leading our way and we need to deploy solutions on the platforms. Let us take our services to every home and to every individual.
We have moved in speed and implemented various solutions towards an ICT enabled environment. These include setting up a robust backbone infrastructure built on fibre optic cable and high speed Gigabit Local Area Networks from Headquarters to the sub county offices. This will enhance connectivity, increase reliability on systems such as the automated revenue collection system, integrated communication system, ibank and ifmis. Solutions and systems will ride on this infrastructure to deliver services for 24/7 economy. We have increased internal communication, are now setting up reliable mail solution and other value add solutions focused heavily on customer or public experience. In the health services sector we have automated various services that include revenue collection and procurement. We are at different levels of automation and use of information technology in other departments. We expect to give maximum results quickly and easily to our people. We expect to have indisputable statistics based on system reports and projections. We shall innovate so that we run faster, easier and better.
As we discuss on how to embrace and progress ICTs, it is equally my hope that this forum will explore ways of consolidating efforts that can help empower children, drive their safety online and also promote responsible use of digital technology.
Let me once again thank the Communications Authority of Kenya for taking the lead in the cyber security initiative and in particular taking interest in the welfare of our children online. We thank you for the collaboration and look forward to continued engagement so that we can together, transform lives of our people through ICTs.
With these few remarks, I wish to declare the Meru County edition of the KIKAO KIKUU officially opened.