Without a prior warning, Safaricom’s M-Pesa systems went off over the weekend making millions of Kenyans who have ‘been conditioned’ to rely on the service quite ‘inconvenienced’ for hours.
The outage which Safaricom explained was brought about by a slow database response which resulted in a reduction of the number of transactions being processed caused major interruption of payments and money transfer across the country.
“This led to the queuing of incoming transactions and a delay in responses to customers,” said Safaricom in a statement.
The telecommunication giant has said its engineers are working in collaboration with their counterparts from Communication Authority of Kenya and Central Bank of Kenya to ensure the issue does not rise again.
The outage did not go unnoticed as the Cabinet Secretary in charge of Information and Communication Joe Mucheru ordered that Communication Authority to liaise with CBK and provide a detailed postmortem of the issue to him.
However, with M-Pesa being the dominant money transfer service in Kenya, billions of shillings are transacted every single day making such outages very expensive for locals.
Despite there being alternative transfers including Equity’s Equitel, Telkom Kenya’s T-Kash and Airtel money, Kenyans have intertwined their way of life with M-pesa which to some is synonymous with mobile money.
While thousands of outlets rely on ‘Lipa na M-Pesa’ for payments of bills and services rendered including Uber and Taxify services, such inconveniences can be lethal on a personal level.
“Even as we ensure mobile service providers give uninterrupted services, we urge mobile money users to have redundancies to ensure continued services,” said CS Mucheru after the outage.
“Subscribers can now move money in their wallets across different mobile money service providers,” he said.