OPINIONPeople Daily

Suing telco is best option to protect Kenyans

Former Kiambu Governor William Kabogo is an enigma, if not simply controversial. There are so many grey areas about his political and personal lives, that it would be easier figuring out a maze, than trying to separate the truth from the myths about him.

Sorry, I digress; forget the teaser! Ever since he lost his gubernatorial position in the last General Election, Kabogo has been waxing lyrical, especially on social media, about his love for the common man. He seems to have seen the light and now empathises with how the other half lives.

Recently, Kabogo threatened to sue telcos over expiry date for data bundles, saying that he had contracted his lawyers to draft a plan on the intended litigation, with the aim of freeing consumers from economic servitude.

According to Kabogo, data bundles should not have an expiry date and, if they must, it should be renewable.

Now, I am not a lawyer, but a dominant player should respond here for holding millions of Kenyans at ransom through phony promotions. Personally, I find that the firm bundles expire at an inordinately fast rate.

Luckily, I have been on a monthly tariff for years. I pay Sh1,000 for a reasonable package of on-net and off-net talk time, messages and data bundles. But reality checks in occasionally when I finish the bundles, and have to pay hard cash to top up. Honestly, it is a rip-off!

But the young generation is putting their money where their mouth is. Most of those acquiring new lines are going for other service providers, who seem to be overreaching themselves with irresistible offers.

Whether it is a thinly veiled political stratagem for a 2022 comeback, or simply blackmail, on this I’m with Kabogo. It is a high time more people instituted similar class action against some of our anti-competitive companies, organisations or institutions, who have milked Kenyans dry over the years.

Many of the subtle but gross injustices unleashed on Kenyans cannot happen in countries that adhere to strict social justice.

For instance, the State of Colorado in the US has filed a lawsuit against opioid makers, accusing Big Pharma of allegedly engaging in a “campaign of unfairly, deceptively and fraudulently marketing and promoting opioids”. The complainants allege that the number of opioid prescriptions in their jurisdictions were excess and led to deaths, overdoses and problems such as domestic violence and child abuse.

It accuses the pharmaceutical companies of creating a public nuisance and engaging in “fraud and deceit and negligence”, and says they (firms) were “unjustly enriched.”

Right now, am thinking of how the County Government of Makueni can sue the Kenya Pipeline Company, on behalf of Makueni residents, for the massive environmental damage caused by suspect perennial oil leaks in the area.

Kabogo’s case, if he is serious about it, will be revolutionary. It will embolden the ‘average citizen’ that he or she can stand up against bullying from ‘The Establishment’.

Of course, this presupposes that we have a Judiciary that operates on the cardinal principles of justice – fairness and equality.

The writer is a communication expert, and public policy analyst. [email protected]

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