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Kenya: Information Communication Technology Law Proposed

(July 11, 2016) On June 6, 2016, Aden Duale, the Majority Leader of the National Assembly, one house of Kenya’s bicameral legislature, introduced a draft law on information communication technology (ICT). (Information Communication Technology Practitioners Bill, 2016, KENYA GAZETTE SUPPLEMENT No. 84 (June 7, 2016), available at KENYA LAW.) The proposed law has provisions on the establishment of an Information Communication Technology Practitioners Institute and a Council to govern it, as well as on registration and licensing of ICT practitioners and the requirements they must meet. (Id.)

Formal debate on the proposal has not yet begun in the National Assembly. Duale has often sponsored bills for the executive branch of government, but the Ministry of Information, Communications, and Technology has stated that although they are working on revising their policy guidelines, the current draft legislation was not written by the Ministry and that it “does not represent the policy position of the government.” (John Ngirachu, Kenya Bloggers Oppose Information Technology Bill, DAILY NATION ONLINE (July 8, 2016).)

Criticism of the Proposed Legislation

Joseph Mucheru, the Information, Communications and Technology Cabinet Secretary, described the draft as “definitely not good for Kenya.” (Id.) The draft has also been criticized by members of the public as an attempt to stifle free discussion. According to Kamotho Njenga, Secretary-General of the Information Communication Technology Association of Kenya, the criticism has been centered on provisions on the registration and licensing of ICT practitioners. (Id.)

Kenya has become known as the hub of ICT development in sub-Saharan Africa, the “Silicon Savannah,” and critics of the draft legislation have called the bill “retrogressive, archaic, and likely to derail any developments in the ICT spectrum … ,” stressing that it might be an impediment to technical innovation.  (#KillTheICTBill: Kenyans Rally Against the ICT Practitioners Bill 2016, BRANDED IQ (July 6, 2016); Jake Bright & Aubrey Hruby, The Rise of Silicon Savannah and Africa’s Tech Movement (July 23, 2015), TECH CRUNCH.)

A petition drive has been initiated to object to the bill. (Geoffrey Mureithi, Petitioning President Uhuru Kenyatta: Say No to the ICT Practitioners Bill, CHANGE.ORG (last visited July 11, 2016).)