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Parliament petitions Communications Authority (CA) to postpone October sim card deactivation

Parliament petitions Communications Authority (CA) to postpone October sim card deactivation owing to the drought situation in the country.

Members of parliament now want the Communications Authority (CA) to postpone its planned deactivation of all unregistered SIM cards until the current drought situation is over.

As the only lifeline for families who receive cash transfers and other stipends from the government and donors, MPs from drought-affected areas have pleaded with the CA and telco giant Safaricom not to deregister the lines.

If the CA and the communications carriers shut down the unregistered mobile phones, households who have registered their lines to collect payment will be impacted, according to the female parliamentarians from pastoralist areas.

The CA ordered Safaricom, Airtel, and Telkom Kenya to register all of their mobile phone subscribers, including those who are previously registered, again as of March 1.

The CA extended the deadline to October 15, 2022, to allow the telecommunications firms to conduct a clean-up of its subscriber lines as the state moves to consolidate efforts to improve data accuracy.

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“We are concerned with the directive of the Communication Authority to disconnect all unregistered telephone lines by October 15, 2022, during a such difficult time,” Naomi Waqo, the Marsabit Woman Representative said.

The female MPs said millions of vulnerable and poor families in drought-stricken areas are dependent on their phone lines to receive cash transfers from agencies, families, and well-wishers, and disconnecting the phone lines will be insensitive to the situation and the plight of poor families.

“We request that this deadline be relaxed until the drought situation is over and the drought-stricken pastoralists in the remote areas are able to travel to town centres to register their phone lines,” the MPs said.

This is the third cleanup of unregistered mobile telephone lines in the country with the previous ones having been done in 2012 and 2018.

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