Since coming into power in March 2013, the Jubilee Government has had to tackle increasing incidents of insecurity. What had earlier started as random kidnappings of tourists at the coastal region would soon undergo metamorphosis. Hurling of grenades into places of worship and planting IEDs in matatus soon became the order of the day. Nairobi, the country’s capital would bear the brunt of the terrorist’s worst act since the bombing of the U.S. embassy in 1998. Terrorists suspected to be members of the al shabab took the Westgate Shopping Mall, located in Westlands, under siege. Thereafter, sporadic grenade attacks kept on increasing.
The government promised to take measures that would boost security in major towns and cities in the country. More specifically, President Kenyatta spoke of a national CCTV camera surveillance project to be rolled out in Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu. The project is to be carried out in conjunction with Safaricom Limited which is the leading mobile telephony services provider in the country. The president also added that the government would provide police with additional vehicles that would also be fitted with CCTV cameras. Basically, the CCTV project involves installing video surveillance cameras at strategic points within the city. In addition, monitoring cameras are installed at police headquarters and stations. The system is to be backed up by a database consisting of photo images and personal details of every citizen. Once a
camera pans on a suspicious activity, it will be able to zoom in hence capturing images of the people caught in the thick of the activity. Once these images are sent to the monitoring stations, computers quickly query the database and provide police officers with details of the persons involved.
This technology will also be extended to all the border points in the country. The government further plans to re-register all Kenyans on a digital database. This will assist monitoring agencies National Government’s Ambitious Project to Boost Urban Security in Kenya’s Major Cities identify persons who commit crimes, arrest and charge them in a court of law. On the other hand, persons trying to enter or leave the country using fake or forged identification papers will be identified and nabbed. The national digital database creation exercise is being spearheaded by the Ministry of Interior and Ministry of ICT in conjunction with the national government. All Kenyans aged 12 years and above will be registered.
Sources indicate that Safaricom will spend Ksh 12 billion on the security project. The telecoms operator has already been awarded the contract. Safaricom plans to build a number of LTE base stations; 60 in Nairobi and 20 in Mombasa. In addition, it will install 1,800 CCTV cameras across Nairobi and Mombasa. These cameras will have high and ultra-high definition aspects. In Nairobi, Safaricom had projected to have the project up and running by December, 2014. On its part, the government is supposed to reimburse the project cost in phases. Another key pitching point is Safaricom’s offer to operate the system for five years. For its trouble, the telecoms operator will earn Ksh 12 billion annually in fees. As an incentive, Safaricom has offered to manage the national security system for the first year at no fee to the government. In
addition to building a high-speed network, the firm will supply radio communication gadgets to the police. The devices (walkietalkies) are fitted with cameras to enable police officers take crime scene photos and send them to command and control centers. The walkie-talkies also have tracking capabilities, a factor that makes it easy to coordinate disaster response. The system will run on an independent platform away from Safaricom’s existing infrastructure.