Kenya’s President rejects controversial ICT Practitioners Bill
Kenya’s controversial ICT Practitioners Bill has been returned to parliament after President Uhuru Kenyatta declined to assent to it and make it law.
The Bill included several stringent measures to regulate ICT practitioners and relevant compliance, including that all ICT practitioners must have a university degree, have at least three years’ experience and must pay an annual fee.
The ICT Ministry’s Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru posted a tweet on Tuesday evening: “President Kenyatta declined three parliamentary bills among them the Information Communication Technology Practitioners Bill; Insurance Professionals Registration Bill of 2020; and Higher Education Loans Bill of 2020, all sent back to Parliament with memoranda.”
Mucheru had earlier distanced his Ministry from the proposed Bill and urged the President to reject it.
Lobby group the Kenya ICT Ecosystem Stakeholders (KIES) said the Bill is ultimately unconstitutional and warned it would kill development and innovation in the East African country.
In an open letter to the President, KIES stated: “While we appreciate and welcome Parliament’s legislative power, we note that 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 added, “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. Lastly, it will claw back on your legacy that has created an enviably supportive environment for even further growth of the Silicon Savannah.”
While the President’s latest action has been largely welcomed by the ICT industry, officials have not indicated plans going forward, whether or not the Bill will be reassessed by parliament or abandoned.