About Mwendwa Kivuva

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.

The warmth of the genuinely friendly and hospitable Balinese people in the famous Indonesian archipelago of Bali together with the sunny and warm tropical weather emanating form the Bali sea was a clear indication the 8thGlobal Internet Governance Forum (IGF) would be fruitful and lead to positive outcomes. The tone had already been set by the environment.

Scenic Bali Sea beach
Scenic Bali Sea beach

The IGF capacity building pre-event organized by Internet Society had all global ISOC Ambassadors and ISOC fellows from the Asian Pacific region participate in topics of their interests that had an impact on the Internet in their respective regions. The discussions took the un-conference format where every individual from Australia to Argentina, from Kenya to Costa Rica, from Vanuatu to Uganda, from Venezuela to Russia, all felt comfortable and they could contribute without pressure.

Inside the Fishbowl

The discussions were done through the interesting and unique fishbowl method where seven debaters sat in the middle of a two tier circle, with an eight slot available for the other members sited outside the center ring to fill if they felt the need to contribute to the debate. Only those on the inside circle could contribute, and one had to exit the circle through peer pressure and join the outside circle to maintain the balance to seven debaters if the eight slot was occupied. A prefect would ensure fishbowl rules were followed; and a scribe would note all the key-points that emerge form the debate, but neither of them could contribute to the discussions.

A Fishbowl in session
A Fishbowl in session. Extream right, Ms. Toral Cowieson, Senior Director, Internet Leadership was the Prefect 

Interesting debates from different Internet related problems from across the globe were tackled, some of them being

  1. How do we create contacts within local stakeholders, running projects for the chapter and extending support to local community.
  2. Best practices in financial management of ISOC chapters including fund-raising and grants
  3. Setting ISOC chapter’s objectives and goals
  4. If we work on a project it would be … with … and jointly we can achieve …
  5. What is my role in my chapter to shape up the future of Internet in my community … and what do I need to do …
  6. ISOC chapters contribute most effectively to the Internet Governance if …
  7. Online Intermediaries and human rights : Embracing transparency, accountability and Trust in the Digital era.
  8. What is preventing effective Cyber security in developing countries? Are policymakers not aware of the severity of the issues and multitude of responses required (people, process and tech), and as much haven’t made Cyber security a national priority.
  9. Use of the Internet to support creative economy and sustainable development
  10. Child safety online: What is the role of parents in ensuring that children are safe online?
  11. Best practices in building community of learning. How do we create peer networks that build capacity building to Internet Governance?

The fishbowl is an interesting way of brainstorming and coming up with new ideas for contemporary problems that affect us. I consider this a key takeaway from the ISOC Ambassadorial program because we can use it in our local ISOC chapter meetings where all members will feel welcomed and encouraged to contribute. It can also be used in our day to day jobs , in meetings where we sometimes struggle to get members engaged.

The solution room.

This was a more interesting method of getting solutions for participants that had Internet related problems in their region. On the solution room, eight participants sat on a round-table and asked to write down their problem in a paper glued infront of each one of them. Participants then moved clockwise one position, but left their problem behind. Now the problem became the problem of the whole group, where they brainstormed around it as the members sited infront of the problem scribed the solutions offered. All the problems would be solved clockwise until the last. Each member would then take the solution for adoption in solving the respective problem presented.

The Solution Room

The Solution Room

My region has many Internet governance issues. I would like to handle the topic of “The Internet as an engine for growth and advancement. “

Access to the Internet can change lives of many people in the developing world producing plenty of opportunities for the youth, entrepreneurs, and other stakeholders. Access to the internet in Africa is primarily through mobile phones.

Many young people are unemployed, yet we can harness technology to assist them improve their livelihoods. Opportunities for the youth can be made possible through introduction of affordable phones, training the youth on mobile application development, incubation of youth businesses that are developing new innovative applications that run on mobile phones and finally, providing employment opportunities for these young innovators. Economic empowerment of the youth will lead to self sustainability of these nations. In the past few years, cost of mobile phones has decreased, enabling access to majority of citizens in developing countries. According to a research by iHub Research and Research Solutions Africa conducted in mid 2012, (Crandall, 2012) noted that “16% of Kenyans at the BoP1 Internet on their mobile phone” This has also been made possible because cellular companies have reduced cost of operating mobile phones by providing cheap calling rates and internet.

As the barriers to access of the phones have been broken, the youth have showed great innovation through development of applications. One such application in Kenya is the iCow that enable farmers to keep health records for their livestock. Other applications being considered will enable farmers get competitive markets for their produce through introduction of a commodities exchange market, and access of competitive market price information. Ushahidi on the other hand is an application that can solve crisis problems of crime, delinquency, and disasters by use of Crowdsourcing.

Opportunities for entrepreneurs can be made possible where governments are stable and they enact favorable policies and regulations for investors. This will attract major companies to establish bases in developing countries and provide funding to local startups. The firms will provide business solutions like mobile banking, provision of micro loans through mobiles,

and mobile money transfer services. A good innovation in the Kenyan market because of favorable business environment is the world famous M-PESA, a mobile money transfer platform.

For many of these positives to become a reality, policies and regulations that affect the access to phones and the internet should be formulated. In Kenya, counterfeit phones were switched off September 30th 2012. The communication commission ordered telecommunication operators to block phones that don’t have International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI ) number from accessing network services. The main reason was that the phones pose security risks to the country because the users cannot be tracked, and also counterfeits deny revenue to the genuine manufacturers. About 1.5million phones were switched off, affecting many users at BoP. (Chebusiri, 2012) Should Kenya have taken a different road? Such policies of locking out the poor from accessing the network only serve to enlarge the digital divide. The digital divide is not only about people of lower economic class not affording mobile phones and internet, but a research conducted by (Scott & McKemey, 2002) revealed that less women have access to phones and internet than men, and less educated people are likely to use these technology than those with high school diploma. Tracking mobile users’ activities poses serious questions of privacy, and incline towards abuse of basic human rights.

Internet Service providers do bandwidth trottling to Peer to Peer (P2P) traffic especially when enforcing copyrights, or metering videos that clog their networks affecting the Quality of service (QOS) for the majority of average users. Accessing the internet through handheld phones as it is the case of developing countries tackles issues of net neutrality since mobile phones use less bandwidth, and they don’t have heavy applications that affect the QoS of other users.

All in all, developing nations should concentrate on having concrete policies, laws and regulation, having stable governments, educating the youth, and encouraging strategic investors to fund local businesses in the technology field. This will enable the nations to create more wealth and improve the livelihoods of their citizens, as well as benefit from foreign exchange and better balance of trade caused by exporting technology.


Chebusiri, W.w., 2012. BBC News – Kenya’s battle to switch off fake phones. [Online] Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-19819965 [Accessed 24 October 2012].Crandall, A., 2012.

How the Kenyan base of the pyramid uses their mobile phone | *iHub. [Online] Available at: http://www.ihub.co.ke/blog/2012/10/how-the-kenyan-base-of-the-pyramid-uses-their-mobile-phone

[Accessed 24 October 24].Scott, N. & McKemey, K., 2002. The use of Telephone in Rural and Low Income Communities in Africa. In 42nd Meeting of the CTO Council. London, 2002.