Netblocks Confirms Internet Disruption in Kenya

No internet
A group of people accessing the Internet through smartphones.

A significant internet outage hit Kenya on Tuesday, June 25, despite an assurances from the Communication Authority of Kenya (CA) that such a disruption would not occur.

The global internet observatory NetBlocks confirmed the outage on X, formerly known as Twitter, around 5 p.m.

NetBlocks reported, "Confirmed: Live network data show a major disruption to internet connectivity in Kenya," sparking widespread concern and frustration among Kenyans.

The blackout coincided with escalating anti-finance bill protests, which have relied heavily on online mobilisation and live streaming by media and influencers.

The timing of the outage has raised eyebrows, occurring at the height of anti-finance bill protests that have swept the country. These protests, marked by extensive online mobilisation, have been extensively covered by both legacy media and digital influencers.

An image showing an internet connection cable
An image showing an internet connection cable.
Kenya Pics

On Monday, 24th June, the Communication Authority of Kenya (CA) sought to allay fears of an impending internet shutdown. 

CA Director General David Mugonyi issued a statement assuring the public that internet access would remain uninterrupted during the protests scheduled for the following day.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the Authority has no intention whatsoever to shut down internet traffic or interfere with the quality of connectivity,” Mugonyi stated. “Such actions would be a betrayal of the Constitution as a whole, the freedom of expression in particular and our own ethos.”

Mugonyi underscored the critical role of internet access in driving Kenya’s economy. An internet shutdown, he reasoned, would sabotage the nation’s fast-growing economy and jeopardise thousands of livelihoods.

Despite these assurances, the reality on the ground painted a different picture. 

As Kenyans voiced their frustrations online, speculation grew that the outage was an attempt to stifle the protests and control the narrative.

NetBlocks’ confirmation added a layer of credibility to these suspicions. The organisation, known for its work at the intersection of digital rights, cybersecurity, and internet governance, highlighted the magnitude of the disruption and its implications for Kenya’s digital landscape.

The government’s handling of the situation has drawn sharp criticism from various quarters. Many argue that the outage contradicts the very principles of freedom and openness that Mugonyi’s statement emphasised.

The outage came just hours after protestors breached Parliament Building. 

Communications Authority of Kenya Headquarters
Communications Authority of Kenya Headquarters
Communications Authority of Kenya