From thorough frisking at building entrances, random road blocks to ID provision at matatu terminus and recently the ban of tinted car windows all in the name to curb terrorism in the state, the government is back yet again with a new measure this time round a digital oriented one.
It all seems like a trial and era business that has so many phases rolled out all at once. Safaricom is set to create security communications system worth ksh14.9 billion in conjunction with the Kenya Police that will receive 1,800 IP cameras with facial and car number plate recognition functions, special communication radios that will contain mobile phone, video and photo features as well as the ability to communicate in groups with a connection to the governments systems. Safaricom will host the system in the next five years.
Safaricom is expected to build 60 LTE base stations in Nairobi, 20 in Mombasa with 7,600 security agents at any given time- a capacity that will gradually grow to 50,000.
It feels like I have heard this before “The National Police service telecoms project” which was one of the controversial Angloleasing projects that was floated early last year requiring that only Chinese companies bid then followed court orders freezing the awarding of the deal to privately-owned ZTE corporation alleging the firm was planning to use outdated technology.
Looking at the current deal between leading mobile operator and the Government of Kenya, in which the telco will earn ksh2 billion annual fee for its management of the national security communication system expected to be rolled out in different phases, Safaricom has relieved the government ksh2 billion owing to offer the service for free in the first year therefore the government will only spend sh8 billion on the five year contract instead of sh10 billion.
The deal gets sweeter at least for the government which has found it unusual since as opposed to previous bidders who had sought upfront payment of 90 per cent of the total project cost, Safaricom gets to be paid later after the network is established which comes in as a strategic move since the deal has effectively tilted the market in favour of Safaricom because it frees the operator’s hands to move to a higher quality platform. The mobile operator has also committed to offer free internet connectivity to all public primary schools that will benefit from the government sponsored laptops project if it will even see the light. What sure way to acquire its operating license.
Government systems expected to receive real-time signals in order to deal with issues immediately are largely analog not to forget mediocre working standards in the police sector that has had the stations use type writers to print office documents in this time and age.
It’s certainly not pessimism and negativity I am trying to preach but the reality based on past projects of the kind which later turn out political,hit the courts and finally get freezed which in most claims are based on unaccounted money.