The Communications and Multimedia Appeals Tribunal has barred Safaricom from increasing call rates.
On Wednesday, the Consumer Federation of Kenya (COFEK) joined the Communication Authority to fight Safaricom and prevent it from effecting the decision.
The Communications and Multimedia Appeals Tribunal through its Chairperson Rosemary Kuria allowed COFEK to join the petition as an interested party.
Safaricom LLP Vs Communications Authority- on reduction of communication charges case is before the tribunal.
Kuria directed all parties to file their replying documents within 14 days and the Appellant/Safaricom to file further affidavit within 7 days.
The Status quo will be maintained pending the hearing and determination of the case.
This means Safaricom cannot increase the calling rates.
The case will be mentioned on February 2, 2022, to confirm compliance and further directions.
Airtel and Telcom Kenya have also been enjoined in the petition.
COFEK through lawyer Henry Kurauka made an application seeking to be enjoined in the matter saying that they want to fight for Millions of Kenyans who are struggling to pay school fees among other needs.
COFEK termed the decision by Safaricom to increase call rates at this time as unreasonable, unlawful, predatory, outrageous, and oppressive and offends the spirit of the constitution of Kenya.
“If the reduced charges are not implemented, the rights of the consumers will be greatly infringed,” Kurauka said.
Kurauka told the Communication tribunal that it has a jurisdiction at any stage of the proceedings to enjoin a party whose presence before the tribunal may be necessary to enable it effectively adjudicate and settle all questions involved in the suit.
He said the Constitution and Consumer Protection Act call for the tribunal to consider the sensitivities and public interests involved before issuing the orders in favor of Safaricom.
Kurauka said Safaricom move to increase call rates will affect Kenyans negatively due to the current high cost of living.
He added that the public and consumer’s challenges will worsen due to the current high cost of living.
“There is no reasonable cause to retain high charges by Safaricom at a time when most consumers are struggling to meet basic amenities for their families such as food, housing, healthcare, school/college airtime, fee, clothing fuel and other important social and family needs” added Kurauka.
Kurauka said Safaricom commercial interest cannot supersede public interests.