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Watchdog asks Kenyans to ignore mobile phone firm boycott       

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The Communication Authority of Kenya (CA) on Tuesday asked Kenyans to ignore an ongoing boycott of services of leading mobile phone firm, called by the opposition National Super Alliance (NASA).

NASA leader Raila Odinga has accused Safaricom, which has over 28 million customers, of working with the ruling Jubilee party to defeat electoral justice in the Aug. 8 and Oct. 26 presidential elections.

Odinga and other leaders in the coalition have since last week been leading their supporters in a boycott of the company’s products and services, and those of an edible oil processor and a milk maker.

“We would like to urge Kenyans to take advantage of the choices of services available in the ICT market without undue pressure from anyone,” said CA director-general Francis Wangusi in a statement. “We call on leaders across the political spectrum to avoid making statements that may dampen investment climate in the country.”

The boycott would hurt job creation and ultimately lead to job losses thus affecting the economy, Wangusi said.

“We want consumers in the ICT sector to exercise their freedom of choice of services and service providers and create an enabling environment for further investment in the sector to spur economic growth,” he said.

It has taken years of hard work for the businesses being vilified to reach where they are, Wangusi said.

The mobile phone firm, besides voice services, also offers mobile money and data services.

It is the market leader in the east African nation.

Opposition supporters have in the last few days been migrating to the mobile phone firm’s rival following the boycott call.

Kenya’s ICT sector has created about 2 million jobs both formally and informally and is one of the main drivers of the economy


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