About Mwendwa Kivuva

I made good use of my extended stay in England and  attended the UK IGF held on 1st July 2014 at St. Ermin’s hotel, London, England. The Nominet Chair Baroness Rennie Fritchie gave the sponsor’s welcoming remarks. She said “The IGF provides an opportunity for discussion, dialogue, divergent views, and encourages people to speak-up”. The event had about 50 participants. The Minister for Culture, Communication and the Creative Industries Hon. Ed Vaizey, MP appeared briefly to give his keynote speech and fielded questions from participants.

At the UK IGF. Kivuva, Minister  Hon. Ed Vaizey, MP, and Adrian discussing bilateral relations

At the 2014 UK IGF. From Left Mwendwa Kivuva, Minister Hon. Ed Vaizey, MP, and Adrian Rodriguez

The agenda had 6 items:

  1. Net Governance: Net Mundial, London High Level Governance Meeting, now what?
  2. IANA functions
  3. Governance of cybersecurity
  4. IPv6
  5. Network filtering plenary
  6. Wrap-up and key takeaway from the IGF.

Despite the low turnout -(attributed to conference fatigue at ICANN) the discussions were healthy with key takeaways. The government was taken to task on her position on NetNeutrality, which she seemed to contradict herself with no clear position. However, the Minister stated UK is concerned on the kind of regulation being discussed in Europe that would stifle businesses. The IGF organizers were also not able to clearly indicate how the outcome of previous IGFs were used to influence policy, only stating that multistakeholderism and being able to talk to each other was part of the success of the IGF. The UK also stated she was able to adjust policy positions from outcomes of the IGF and have UK positions in bilateral talks with greater EU. However, there was no example given on these positions. Mr. Vaizey noted there is need to strengthen IGF locally and internationally.

UK Internet Governance position for the IGF

The session on Internet Governance landscape identified the following positions for the UK

  • Resist attempt to give priority to single stakeholders – have a more dynamic model
  • Keep the IGF open and balanced
  • Keep vested interests out of the process.
  • Have IGF outcomes stakeholders can take home to aid in capacity building. Use IGF as a forum to address local problem.
  • Make the IGF more focused, and identify the big issues to be discussed.
  • The IGF is all about lobbying. (Seems to contradict point 3. above)
  • True democratic governments are a minority
  • Looking for climatic help from state is the norm. It would be difficult to achieve multistakeholderism while states have more strength.
  • Focus on involving more businesses on the IGF. Content Providers, ISPs, and industries affected by  the Internet.
  • Rebuild trust among stakeholders locally and internationally.

It was appreciated that the IGF landscape has changed greatly. For example, at NetMundial, all stakeholders were treated equally with Civil Society, private Sector, Government, and Technical Community all queuing up to the microphone to make their submissions. IANA stewardship was identified as a positive step taken by USG’s NTIA. A key point was that the idea of human rights has become more mainstream in Internet Governance.

One hindrance identified to multistakeholderism was the fact that not all stakeholders understand the issues being discusses. An example is eight out of nine US Supreme Court judged do not use emails. What kind of decisions would they make if IG issues were presented in their courts?

Relevance of the Istanbul IGF.

  • NetNeutrality will be a big debate in Istanbul.
  • Ongoing support for the IGF and fundraising.
  • How to make the IGF feel like an open platform.
  • How to achieve consensus to develop an outcome document from the IGF
  • The IGF offers capacity building, and many participants find answers to local problems.

The IPv6 Session

The session covered updates on IPv6 addressing use in UK and explored the potential barriers to it’s adoption. The panel was chaired by Olivier Crépin-Leblond Chair of ISOC UK England, with panelists being Alain Fiocco of CISCO, Tim Chown of University of Southampton, and Adrian Kennard Andrew and Arnold Ltd.

It was noted that UK is trailing other European countries in roll-out of IPv6. The global growth of IPv6 roll-out was at around 8% as of 2014. The challenges identified that face the implementation of IpV6 were:

  1. Traditionally lack of Content on IPv6. It’s hard to convince people to use IPv6 without content hosted on it. Now there is massive content on IPv6 and clients need to access this content.
  2. There were few IPv6 transit providers. Now there are many directly commuter BGP transit points.
  3. In the past, there were Few equipment especially core routers and client premise equipment that supported IPv6. Now most devices are IPv6 compliant.
  4. There is a high cost of upgrading the Internet backbone to support IPv6 by large ISPs
  5. Bugs on equipment that were to be IPv6 compliant. Most equipment are now bug-free.
  6. Affordability of consumer routers. Low end routers did not have IPv6 support. Most of these technical hurdles have been solved already.
  7. lack of Operating System support. Now, most Operating Systems are IPv6 compliant.
  8. Use of Career Grade NAT (CGN) and Large Scale NAT (LSN) which are presented as IPv6. This prevents operators from rolling out pure IPv6 networks. The CGN is not scalable, and the end users have poor network experience.
  9. What is left? Cost of change. We need technical staff to understand issues around IPv6. Staff need to be trained including engineers, support team, and call center operators. There need to be more affordable equipment in the market that support IPv6. There need to be demand from the end users for IPv6 content, and IPv6 connectivity.

It was identified that as of July 2014, only 4% of the Internet  users had access to IPv6. The big players like Google, Wikipedia, Yahoo, Facebook, Microsoft, e.t.c are on IPv6. A key point was the driver for IPv6 roll-out seemed to be innovation and not demographics.

The Network filtering session came into a conclusion that education was more desirable in protecting minors online instead of blocking websites since the minors could still access the content from other devices elsewhere.

The wrap-up session was a Q&A session between Kate Russell, freelance Journalist and BBC Click presenter with Eleanor Bradley, CEO of Nominet.

NB: Key take-away from the IGF: Possible areas of research – IPv6 uptake in Kenyan Universities. Universities are agents of change in society, and they usually have good budget. Why are they not leading the way in implementing IPv6?

So while on the Hotel bus from London’s Heathrow Airport terminal 4, I meet this couple of about 60 years. As we chat, I learn that they are from Australia and are in Europe for a two week bus tour. After touring London, they will take a bus tour with other colleagues and travel through France, Germany, Switzerland, … Well, that is such an experience.

On my second week, while spending at the Clink, I meet Nathan from New Zealand. Depute him not knowing where Kenya is, let alone Nairobi, he tells me he’s in a company of four, touring all over Europe for a couple of months. They had rented a tour home-van that allowed them the flexibility of travelling in all cities across Europe without having to spend in a hotel.

How about that?

I believe Civil Society should come out strongly as genuine brokers for the national dialogue called by CORD coalition. After the entry of NARC government in power in 2002, civil society became extremely weakened because most of the activists and people of perceived good morals entered government leaving the Civil Society movement a shell. Since then, it has never recovered. It is time for us to redeem that image.

Give dialogue a chance

Civil Society should lead the national dialogue in Kenya – Image source Shutterstock

As a new breed of Civil Society activism enters the foray, it’s paramount they step up the fight for the common citizen as the Civil Society strive be relevant. It would be imprudent for Civil Society to remain sidelined in these intense times. Civil Society have a unique advantage of being respected by Kenyans regardless of political affiliation, tribe, and social standing. It is therefore my call for us to come out very strongly as the convener of national dialogue since we represent the genuine interests of the people.

Civil Society should come out strongly as a genuine broker and convener of national dialogue in Kenya.

The opposition and government alike only have their interests at heart as they lay conditions for the national dialogue. Demagogues and sycophants will take sides and incite their followers seeking their interests to be catered for in government at the expense of the people who feel the pinch of incompetent leadership.

Arise Civil Society and be felt in championing a better life for all Kenyans. It is our time to be counted.

While growing up, we used to live next to a white family with fiery dogs, probably pure breed German Shepherds. I never got to know the name of the old lady of the home, but she had an old grandfather-like servant called Baba Nduva. Now in the same compound as us lived a large nuclear family called the Tendenis. White man’s dogs don’t live by leftovers. Baba Nduva’s Master ensured she stocked the leanest of beef for her canines. Being sly, a contract not known to us was made between the Tendenis and Baba Nduva.The Tendenis used to take beef every waking day, a delicacy that could only be savored occasionally, maybe a fortnight for those of us who lived below the fabled one dollar a day.

Tendeni was a man towards his pension, with three sons and four daughters, and a wife to say she was overweight is an understatement. Once in her bedroom, I fitted into one of her underwear and it was bigger than a child wearing his father’s suspenders. I could not comprehend the purpose of the rug sagging on my pelvis as I held the hip level-band with arms stretched above my head, until the older daughter reprimanded the youngest one for letting me fit into the underwear. The things kids do!

Back to Baba Nduva. One of the Tendeni’s daughters would stand by the live fence and shout, “Baba Nduva, Baba Nduva …” Occasionally they would call for more than an hour not knowing Baba Nduva had gone to Nakuru’s Bondeni estate for Chang’aa, a locally brewed potent alcohol. The fiery dogs on the other side of the fence would bark continuously the whole while, as if to say “dare steal our meal”. But Baba Nduva would come staggering back home from his drunken stupor and have his way, and sell the dog’s meal for a song, no matter how hard the canines protested. He was assured of a steady income to maintain his drinking habit.

Based on a True Story. All characters are fictional, any semblance to real people dead or alive is purely coincidental.

After great pain a formal feeling comes –
The Nerves sit ceremonious like Tombs;
The stiff Heart questions –
was it He that bore And Yesterday – or Centuries before?

The Feet, mechanical, go round
A Wooden way
Of Ground, or Air, or Ought,
Regardless grown,
A Quartz contentment, like a stone.

This is the Hour of Lead
Remembered if outlived,
As Freezing persons recollect the Snow –
First Chill—then Stupor—then the letting go.

Dante’s sonnet La Vita Nuova as depicted by Hannibal movie.
Joyous love seemed to me
The while he held my heart in his hands
And in his arms my lady lay asleep
Wapped in a veil
He woke her then,
And trembling and obedient
She ate that burning heart out of his hands
Weeping, I saw her then depart from me.
Do you believe a man could become so obsessed with a woman from a single encounter?
Could he daily feel a stab of hunger for her? Find nourishment from the very sight of her? I think so. But would she see through bars of his plight, and ache for him?

A blog for everyone. Let's go digital

A blog for everyone. Let’s go digital

A .me.ke domain name like this one lord.me.ke is great for a personal blog, personal journal, and advertising your qualifications and resume to the masses. You can refer your employers to your website or showcase your portfolio.

You can also have a brand .me.ke email address like dreams@lord.me.ke which you can give your loved ones, or use for personalising your diary, and thoughts.

A domain alone like lord.me.ke is Ksh1000/year ($10).

A website with the domain is Ksh1160/year ($11). You will get a website just like this lord.me.ke or Foina.me.ke or Ndungi.me.ke.

Try contacting any of the .ke domain registrars by clicking on this link.

Lets go digital

See also, The responsive and interactive online Bible, neno.co.ke

Following the call for public consultations from CAK (Communication Authority of Kenya), previously known as Communication Commission of Kenya for the way forward for the management of .ke registry, I took the liberty to respond to the documents available for public perusal.

The registry’s work is to maintain all administrative data of the domain and generates a zone file which contains the addresses of the nameservers for each domain. Kenic is a registry for .ke. Other registries are ZADNA for .za, Nominet UK for .uk, PIR for .org and Verisign for .com and .net. A domain name registry is a database of all domain names and the associated registrant information in the top level domains of the DNS of the internet that allow third party entities to request administrative control of a domain name.

A domain name registrar is a commercial entity that manages the reservation of Internet domain names. A domain name registrar must be accredited by a registry (KENIC, Nominet UK, Verisign, PIR e.t.c). There are many registrars in Kenya see http://kenic.or.ke/index.php/registrars/registrar-list and their work is to market the domains to the end users. For .com, org e.t.c we have enom, godaddy, 1and1 e.t.c. The registrars do a very important role in the ecosystem, this being innovation, marketing, and value added services like emails, website hosting, and website development. A registry will be overwhelmed doing all this.

The documents listed on the CCK website http://www.cck.go.ke/links/consultations/current.html are not specific on how CCK intends to transform KENIC, although Wambua and Dr. Macharia tried giving some explanation that KENIC will remain as it is currently. The current position is “KENIC is a not-for-profit entity”.

It would be great if CCK shared the framework document that advised them on the direction they chose for KENIC. Grace Githaiga too has requested on the framework document to be made public. The report from the consultant that CCK hired should be shared with the public.

Dr. Jimmy Macharia on his official response has stated that “KENIC is the best suited entity to continue managing and operating the top Level .ke ccTLD registry. That statement is subject to many interpretations and needs more clarity.

If we all had a common utilitarian interest for the Domain industry in Kenya and for the end user, the direction for KENIC would have been very clear and agreeable to all. And that sincere interest is to ensure KENIC remains a NOT FOR PROFIT organization. CCK is soliciting views from the pubic yet they have already made up their mind on the final outcome. That defeats the whole purpose of public consultations. KENIC needs to be a Public Interest Registry owned by the community and not a commercial entity just like Nominet UK. The prices need to be made as low as possible to maintain the registry, and at the same time allow registrars to flourish and compete. The numbers that KENIC is operating at now are enough for it to operate independently yet serve the interests of our Internet Community.

The document Review follows below: http://www.cck.go.ke/links/consultations/


The Licensing Framework
The Commission hereby submits the draft licensing framework for dot KE Domain Name Registry Services for public review and comment s. The licensing framework consists of the following documents:
i. Draft application form for the dot KE Domain Name Registry Services;
ii. Draft license conditions for Dot KE Domain Name Registry Services; and
iii. Draft procedures and guidelines for the provision of Dot KE Domain Name Registry Services

According to the documents posted online, the commission wants us to debate on the application form, and license conditions for the new commercial registry bidder, instead of the community debating on the new entity’s legal structure and the players in that structure. The documents provided for public consultation do not address key legal issues, the reason why the community totally ignored them.

(Page 3)
The licensing framework for Dot KE Domain Name Registry and the proposed structure of a delegated regulation model will ensure that the Commission plays a regulatory oversight role as envisaged in the Act and Regulations while at the same time transferring the management of the Dot KE Domain Name Registry to a commercial entity.

From the document, the word “commercial entity” has been used, and may mean several things, it’s evident that there is some form of bidding and auctioning that will be going on, yet the interests of the community can only be realised through a Nont-for-Profit Public Interest Registry.

Price of .ke set to go up.
Applicable Fees
The dot KE Domain Name Registry services fall under the Application Service Provider (ASP) licence category. The licence shall therefore be for a period of 15 years and shall attract a licence application fee of Kshs. 5,000.00, an initial operating licence fee of Kshs. 100,000.00 and an annual operating fee equivalent to 0.4% of annual gross turnover or Kshs. 80,000, whichever is higher. The Registrars shall be issued with an authorization upon fulfilment of the above requirements and payment of a registration fee of Kshs 10,000.
Check page2, part D of the Applciation form http://www.cck.go.ke/links/consultations/published_responses/Draft_Application_Form_For_Country_Code_Top_Level_Domain_xccTLDx.pdf

The ASP mentioned above is taking over a proven business, whose annual revenue is over ksh50,000,000.00 for a license fee of Ksh115,000 and 0.4% of profits. Consider that .co.ke is 90% of all the 30,000 domains registered, the ASP will be buying a Ksh 50,000,000.00 investment at 0.002% of the cost? I might be wrong with my calculations, but as you can see, it does not make a lot of sense to turn a public body and sell it for a song to a private commercial entity.
The price of a .ke is already too high for many Kenyans, at a registrar price of Ksh2320 (USD27), many end users opt for gTLDs (.com, .net, e.t.c). There is a whole ecosystem of young entrepreneurs who have settled as .ke registrars and instead of shaking them off from the tree, we should work hard to ensure .ke prices are lower than they currently are. Credit for KENIC for running promotions regularly that give good discounts to end users.

Annex1, page 8

Note that companies wishing to be considered for a licence in the communications sector must allot a minimum of 20% of their total shares to individual Kenyan citizens within three (3) year s from the date of issuance of the licence/s

What was the reason of re-delegating the .ke from Randy Bush if we are going to auction it again to foreigners? Is there any other country outside sub-sahara Africa where their ccTLD has been delegated to foreigners? China? US? UK? Japan? South Africa? Brazil? Let us not sell our resources to foreigners since we can manage them ourselves. We must be more protective of our assets least we become the laughing stock.

3. Letter of licence offer
If the application is approved, you will be informed in writing (letter of offer) and may also be contacted via phone/email. The letter of offer is valid for a period of 6 months from the date it’s written and states the amount of money to be paid before a licence is issued. Please note that the upfront operational fees in the offer letter are prorated on monthly bases. This may therefore differ depending on the date you wish to make the payment. You may therefore wish to get in touch with our office to be advised on the correct operating fees before making the payment

Are the fees to be paid decided in advance? Is it an auction?

8.Dot KE ccTLD subdomains Registration Fees
Given that the Dot KE Domain Name Registry is a technical monopoly, and is intended for the good of Kenyans, fees must be reasonably low and competitive. The Commission shall approve the cost of Dot KE Domain Name Registry services.
http://www.cck.go.ke/links/consultations/published_responses/Draft_Procedure_and_Guidelines_for_provision_of_ccTLD_registry_services.pdf page 6 and 7

Since the investors will have to recoup their capital expenses, the regulator should have initiated price controls to cushion the consumer. The registrar price should be fixed to say Ksh1000 maximum per domain, and allow the intermediary registrars to put a small markup to cover their operating expense. Leaving the price open is subject to massive abuse. And price control is nothing new in the Kenyan market. Read oil, electricity, e.t.c.

Way Forward
1. We should all note that .ke is a public resource
2. This resource has been with us for several years.
3. The resource should not be auctioned to the highest bidder.
4. .ke should be transferred to a not-for-profit community owned body to manage it. The proceeds of the profits can be used to build our ICT knowledge economy through donations to schools, sponsoring local initiatives, e.t.c. This model has been very successful. Indeed it should be noted that .za of South Africa took the commercial route only for them to turn around and now the resource is back in public hands. The South African ZADNA is a not-for-profit company that manages and regulates the .za namespace. ZACR (Uniforum) on the other hand is a non-profit organisation that exists for the good of the South African Internet. They plough surplus funds raised beyond covering operating expenses back into the greater Internet community.

Lets be vigilant and ensure that as a community, we have the final word on the direction of where this critical internet resource will head

Register .ke domain here transworldafrica.com

Should we in Kenya lie to ourselves that we are a leading ICT destination in Africa? Lying to ourselves has the positive effect of creating momentum, good International Public Relations, and much needed media coverage. In the past ten years we’ve seen a flurry of business angels and venture capitalists hawk the landscape in search of the next MPESA. That has had a positive impact on the ICT space with several innovations getting noticed and funded. Actually, many of the innovations hubs have thrived because of riding the “ICT wave” that Kenya is the final destination in Africa when it comes to ICTs. And because the hubs thrive, they help to cement that notion by walking the talk. The many Apps competitions like DEMO Africa, and PIVOT East too have thrive because of the same notion, and stimulate our young people to develop great applications. And the cycle continues.

Kenya has become a launchpad for Africa’s commercial strategy for Tech firms, as Kenya grows it’s influence as the regional tech hub powerhouse. Multinationals like the IBM (research lab), Google, Microsoft, Samsung, and Bharti Airtel have all noticed and setup regional hubs in Kenya because of confidence in us. While in Indonesia for the 8th IGF as an Internet Society Ambassador, I met a Fijian lady who was praising Kenya for being the silicon valley of Africa. Indeed, a Kenyan Bernard of nikohapa.com won the AfriNIC/SEED Alliance FIRE award for the best application in the region.

Remember, according to some CNN article by Todd Leopold, (http://www.cnn.com/2012/07/02/us/american-exceptionalism-other-countries-lessons) Americans lag behind in many academic and social measurements. They are number 27th in Mathematics, 50th in life expectancy, 72nd in paying taxes, and 173rd in infant mortality yet they are number 1 in self confidence, and they literally rule the world. Rwanda too is riding on the wave of good international PR, my thesis is, after 30th years, it will be Africa’s Singapore. We need that confidence, PR and international goodwill to rub on us. I don’t mind if we lie to ourselves.

We owe much of the gains of the last 10 years to the optimism that swept the country after the 2002 elections, and the pragmatism of President Kibaki who realised the value of PR for the country, and Dr. Ndemo’s action oriented approach in growing the ICT sector (remember the impossible undersea cable and the dream Konza Technology city).
Vision 2030 too was part of that optimism. I hope and pray that the Uhuru regime will capitalise on the gains made, and move us to even greater heights.

Finally, lets celebrate the young Kenyans who spend countless hours in University of Nairobi Nokia lab and innovation Lab, Strathmore’s iLab, iHub, Nailab, mLab, e.t.c. This guys have made Kenya a technology tourism destination, and contributed to the confidence we enjoy now.