Consumers Federation of Kenya (Cofek)

Probe Safaricom M-Pesa outage, ICT CS Mucheru orders CA

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After a long M-Pesa outage that began Saturday evening to early Sunday, the Ministry of ICT has “instructed” the Communications Authority (CA) to probe the costly failure that caught many consumers holding onto bills.

ICT Secretary Joe Mucheru, on Sunday, asked said that “the Ministry has noted with concernthe outage experienced by M-pesa services … The Ministry has instructed CA to liaise with the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) to investigate the cause of this outage and forward a report to government, including remedial measures that Safaricom will take to ensure this outage does not happen in the future”.

The choice of Mr Mucheru’s words as a report being forwarded to ‘government’ and not Ministry could loosely mean that the M-pesa probe report may be reviewed by more than one Ministry implying that other than ICT, Finance and Security Ministries would want to know what went wrong.

Mr Mucheru urged consumers to deploy redundancies (cash in the pocket, payment through other mobile money operators and card payments) whenever M-pesa fails.

The M-pesa failure is set to rekindle the emotive talk of declaration of Safaricom’s dominance as derailing consumer protection. 

Commenting on Twitter, former Airtel Kenya Corporate Affairs Director Dick Omondi said ” “Consumers suffering! Is this a good reason for the regulator (CA) to cuurb monopoly by Safaricom to protect Kenyan consumers ensuring there is a viable alternative or does it just pass as a normal hitch to be rectified”.

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