Jakoyo Midiwo, the deputy minority leader in Kenya’s national assembly, has called for the break up of the country’s largest telecoms operator, Safaricom. because of its role in providing mobile financial services.
Safaricom, which is 40 percent owned by Britain’s Vodafone has more subscribers than its competitors as well as dominating the mobile-based financial services sector with its innovative M-Pesa platform which celebrated its 10th anniversary yesterday.
Mr Midiwo has said he was proposing the amendments to laws on banking and communications to force Safaricom to separate M-Pesa, which is regulated by the central bank, from the telecoms company.
He claims this is necessary because Safaricom offer banking services without the necessary licence.
Any amendments would have to be cleared by parliament and then signed into law by the president. If the amendments fail, he has said he intends to re-introduce them.
Competitors such as Bharti Airtel Kenya have complained of Safaricom’s 90 per cent market dominance, in areas such as voice calls and text messages.