About a month and a half ago there was a heated argument in my house over the shortened name of Communications Authority of Kenya. My guests insisted of calling it CAK. I tried to correct them but they referred me to a Daily Nation article that called the authority CAK.
Referring to Communications Authority of Kenya is not just a mistake done by people like my friends (probably you too) but journalists and bloggers alike. Daily Nation, The Standard, and The Star, despite being our mainstream news publications, all have articles not just referring to the authority as CAK in the content but in the heading too. Take for example the article by The Standard titled CAK SHOULD MAKE QUICK RULING ON SAFARICOM-EQUITY CONFLICT.
The tech bloggers haven’t been spared either. HumanIPO, Techmoran, Techweez and Kachwanya.com all have articles referring to Communications Authority of Kenya as CAK. Examples include the article – Equity Bank, Safaricom to meet CAK over ultra-slim SIMs by HumanIPO, the article – CAK SUMMONS EQUITY, SAFARICOM BEFORE EMBEDDED SIM CARD RULING by Techmoran, our own article – CAK targets cybercrime in local hosting plans and the artilce – Carrier Agony in Low Fees as CAK Approves MVNOs, Airtel Kenya Opens Up Network by Techweez.
Is referring to Communications Authority of Kenya as CAK a big deal? Oh yes it is a very big deal. The big deal is that there is another authority whose scope of operations extends to the territories of Communications Authority of Kenya that has taken up the initials CAK. I am talking about Competition Authority of Kenya. Imagine an article that has references to both Communications Authority of Kenya and Competition Authority of Kenya, how would you differentiate the two by initials if both are allowed to use CAK acronym? One such article is the article – Kenyans chatting more, talking less on phone — report in the Daily Nation that used CAK to refer to Communications Authority of Kenya but did not initialize Competition Authority of Kenya.
This is the problem that Cofek raised early this year in one of their Facebook updates when the transformation from CCK to CAK was almost at its final stage. Cofek asked both Communications Authority of Kenya and Competition Authority of Kenya to agree on who will take up the initials CAK. Given that Competition Authority of Kenya had used the initials since its inception, it was up to Communications Authority of Kenya to take up a different initial – and that’s why the communications authority landed on CA.
To verify that the official acronym for the Communications Authority of Kenya is CA, just visit CA’s website at www.ca.go.ke. The first thing you will notice is that the website uses the acronym CA in the domain name (.go.ke is merely the domain name extension). In the main page, there is the link called CA Information Center.Then in the website under Whats New category they have an article title CA goes to the regions. The first paragraph of that article reads:
The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) has today opened its first regional office in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County.
The official Twitter handle for CA is @CA_Kenya and the hashtag is #CAKenya. Finally note how the authority refers to itself as CA in their main Facebook Page under About section:
CA is the ICT industry regulatory authority for the Communications sector in Kenya.
CA was established in 1999 by the Kenya Communications Act, 2008.Mission
To facilitate access to communication services through enabling regulation and catalyze the country’s socio-economic developmentDescription
Established in 1999, CA is the regulatory authority for the ICT sector in Kenya with responsibilities in telecommunications, radio-communications, e-commerce, broadcasting and postal/courier services.
I could have given CA a better acronym
I must admit that the initial CAK was better suited for Communications Authority of Kenya and that’s why everyone is using the initials to refer to the ICT sector regulator. But since the acronym was not available, I do not think dropping the K was the best approach to arriving at an acronym.
Also Read: From CCK to CA not K
If I were consulted to come up with a name for CA, I could have chosen Comak, which, like Cofek, is an actual acronym different from initialism that is CA.
CA should clarify that it is not CAK
It was on 25th June 2014 that Communication Communication of Kenya (CCK) transformed to become Communications Authority of Kenya in line with the demands of Kenya’s Constitution 2010 (for the enhanced functions of CA since the transformation read the article Former CCK Now an authority not a Commission). Ever since the transforming and rebranding, CA has been aggressively undertaking brand awareness campaigns in the TVs, Radios, and in print – to ensure that Kenyans come to terms with the fact that the ICT, Broadcasting and Communications regulator is no longer known as CCK but as CA – campaigns being watered down by bloggers and journalists.
Bloggers and journalists are watering down the campaigns when they wrongly refer to CA as CAK. By continually referring to CA as CAK, the journalists and bloggers are reinforcing recognition of CA as CAK in the minds of Kenyans, and it will be very hard for Kenyans to address CA correctly even in official communications.
CA must however realize that they chose wrong initials. If they came up with a better acronym like Comak, that is clearly far far off from CAK, no one could have confused them for CAK. But even so CA can do us bloggers and journalists a big favor and issue a press release specifically requesting all of us to be categorical in addressing them as CA and not CAK. The other alternative is for CAK to be vocal like the politicians and warn the journalists against using their initials in reference to Communications Authority of Kenya.