Communications Authority disapproves Safaricom boycott calls
The Communications Authority has weighed in on the calls by the opposition for a boycott of Safaricom and its products arguing political leaders are unjustifiably ‘vilifying’ the firm.
The telecommunications regulator said such calls could disrupt further investment in the sector while also jeopardizing thousands of jobs.
Communications Authority Director General Francis Wangusi said on Tuesday consumers have free will to choose their service provider of choice adding that political utterances are undue pressure on consumer choice.
“We call upon leaders across the political spectrum to avoid making utterances that may dampen the investment climate in the country, hurt jobs in the local ICT sector and ultimately compromise the quality of life for the mwananchi,” Mr Wangusi said.
The remarks by the regulator comes barely a day when a number of opposition leader Raila Odinag led supporters to Airtel shops to switch networks after after NASA leaders on Friday called for a boycott on Safaricom over its perceived link to election malpractice.
On Monday the Safaricom Dealers Association had indicated that some of their employees were being harassed in parts of Nyanza adding that such statements were putting them at risk.
“Let’s focus because we are not politicians but business people. Bad politics is going to affect business so let’s all sober up,” Safaricom Dealers Association chair Ester Muchemi said on Monday.
The opposition coalition also called for a boycott of Brookside and Bidco products.
Mr Wangusi said such political utterances could reverse gains in the telecommunications sector that has seen various small businesses thrive supporting the growth of operators.
“The sector has created more than two million formal and informal jobs. It is also recognized as a key driver of other sectors of the economy, including banking, agriculture, education, health, security and communication,” he stressed.
The regulator has at the same time said it is yet to receive complaint over Safaricom’s role calling on leaders to report the alleged malpractice.
“We encourage that any alleged election malpractices be reported to the relevant authorities,” he said.
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