Kenya Defends China against US Claims on 5G Tech

Former President Uhuru Kenyatta (Left) and Chinese President Xi Jinping prior to a bilateral meeting in Beijing, China in 2018.
Former President Uhuru Kenyatta (left) and Chinese President Xi Jinping (right) prior to a bilateral meeting in Beijing, China in 2018.

The Kenyan government has defended China against accusations made by the United States government, claiming that the Asian nation planned to use 5G technology to spy on other countries. 

ICT CS Joe Mucheru dismissed the claims by the Americans as sideshow politics that had nothing to do with the roll out of 5G network which has already been adopted in Kenya. 

Kenya’s telecommunication service provider, Safaricom, launched its fifth mobile (5G) network services in the country on Thursday, March 25.

The US government had pressured countries to ditch the use of Huawei, a Chinese company, in the supply of equipment relating to 5G technology. 

Safaricom Headquarters.
Safaricom Headquarters in Westlands, Nairobi.
The Standard

“Of course, as government, we have been aware of some those questions about suppliers and technology, but those are just more political postures as opposed to the high test of the technology. 

“We have been working with these partners for a long time and we cannot say we have had any challenges or questions about the security of the technology,” Mucheru stated. 

Amid pressure from the US government, the United Kingdom (UK) banned the use of Huawei 5G network in the country. Other countries that put a stop to the use of the network are Australia and France.

The Kenyan government, however, defended the decision to stick with China citing due diligence and a long productive partnership.

Speaking during the launch of the network, the ICT CS explained that the government had vetted the networks launched in the country and said they had met the set standards.

The launch will target major urban centers with increased data traffic such as Nairobi and the Western region including Kisumu and Bungoma before scaling up the coverage to other major towns in the coming months.

Kenya has in the past two decades embraced China as a strategic economic partner, after decades of close ties with the West including the USA and the UK. 

The trade ties with the Chinese have been attributed to the lack of strings attached to their foreign assistance, unlike western nations which have been accused of micromanaging African countries by setting conditions such as the expansion of democracy before offering trade deals or foreign aid. 

Huawei 5g
Promotional graphics of Huawei 5G