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Kenyan President rejects contentious ICT Bill

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Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has declined to sign and make into law the country’s controversial Information Communication Technology (ICT) Practitioners Bill.

Under the Bill, the East African country’s ICT sector would be regulated, citing that ICT practitioners must have a university degree, have at least three years’ experience and must pay an annual fee.

The Bill was approved by Kenya’s National Assembly. However, it received backlash from many Kenyans who argued that it was both unconstitutional and untenable, even signing an online petition to get it stopped.

The ICT Ministry’s Cabinet Secretary, Joe Mucheru, had already distanced his ministry from the Bill and urged Kenyatta to reject it. Mucheru cited that it was a private member's Bill which his department had continuously fought against in its various forms.

The Cabinet Secretary also confirmed in a tweet that Kenyatta had declined three parliamentary Bills – the ICT Bill, the Insurance Professionals Registration Bill and Higher Education Loans Bill – which were all sent back to Parliament.

Local lobby group, the Kenya ICT Ecosystem Stakeholders (KIES), also wrote an open letter warning that the Bill would hinder development and innovation in the sector.

"This proposed law to regulate such a wide sector is not in the best interests of the ICT sector, and Kenya’s digital economy at large. It threatens the gains made to grow Kenya’s digital economy and its dynamic ICT sector, including job creation for millions of youth, revenue generation and foreign direct investments in SMEs and Startups," the letter said.

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— Matshepo Sehloho, Associate Editor, Connecting Africa

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