Safaricom repossessing numbers (What the heck!)


You raise very pertinent and interesting issues that are tied to Data
Privacy and Protection. You deserve a full explanation, apology, and
restitution from Safaricom.

It will also be interesting to get comments from the CA.


*Ali Hussein*

Digital Transformation

Tel: +254 713 601113

Twitter: @AliHKassim

Skype: abu-jomo


Any information of a personal nature expressed in this email are purely
mine and do not necessarily reflect the official positions of the
organizations that I work with.

On Fri, Sep 4, 2020 at 1:43 PM Brian Munyao Longwe via kictanet <> wrote:

> Hey Wash!
> So – Kenya passed number portability regulations some years back. If I can
> choose to port this number to Airtel or Equitel or Telkom or any other
> operator licensed by CA – doesn’t this imply that the number is
> inextricably linked to me?
> What does the law and other regulations and MNO licenses say about this?
> Brian
> On Fri, Sep 4, 2020 at 12:06 PM Odhiambo Washington <>
> wrote:
>> On Fri, 4 Sep 2020 at 12:08, Brian Munyao Longwe via kictanet <
>>> wrote:
>>> Hi folk,
>>> It’s been a long time. I hope you are all well?
>>> So – mimi niko na issue.
>>> My Safaricom number 0715964281 has apparently been repossessed and sold
>>> to someone else. The other day I opened up my Safaricom app to send some
>>> m-pesa to my daughter as she transits through Nairobi from Malaysia and
>>> shock on me! It displayed the name as “Beatrice Chelangat”
>>> As many of you know – I have been “diaspora” for a good number of years
>>> (close to 9) and am currently based in Malawi. I went to the Kenyans in
>>> Malawi Whatsapp group and mentioned the issue and was told that my line is
>>> gone because I failed to top up in over 6 months. (This is very true, I
>>> think the last time I used the line was more than 8 months ago).
>>> What I find surprising is that this has never been a problem in the
>>> preceding 9+ years that I have been diaspora. My line has many times gone
>>> more than 6,7,8 months without a topup – but always “wakes up” when I load
>>> airtime. And m-pesa has always worked. What gives?
>>> I am distressed because my m-pesa, my e-Citizen, NTSA, bank accounts and
>>> many other digital assets / identity related items are linked to this
>>> number which I have had for the past 15+ years. My digital identity (and
>>> that of many others in similar predicament) is at risk. How did CA allow
>>> this kind of reappropriation to happen without an extensive process?
>>> I would expect that at a minimum – after the expiry of a period of
>>> non-use, and several alerts sent to the number Safaricom (or any other
>>> mobile operator) should publish a gazette notice listing numbers (and
>>> associated registered persons) they want to deactivate/repossess and allow
>>> a period (3 months?) for the owners to claim their number. At the end of
>>> this period then admittedly no one should complain.
>>> Otherwise as far as I am concerned I have just been the victim of a
>>> sim-cloning scam perpetrated by the same company that provides me with the
>>> telecoms service!
>>> I would like to hear what the thoughts of the many much brighter people
>>> than me on this group are….
>>> Best regards,
>>> Mblayo
>> Hi Mblayo,
>> Hope you are doing well in Malawi.
>> TBH, I don’t remember when or even how Safaricom introduced this change.
>> I first heard it when I called their Customer Care.
>> What I think you should do it look for the initial dotted lines that you
>> signed to see if that provision was there.
>> —
>> Best regards,
>> Odhiambo WASHINGTON,
>> Nairobi,KE
>> +254 7 3200 0004/+254 7 2274 3223
>> “Oh, the cruft.”, grep ^[^#] 🙂
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