President Uhuru Kenyatta Declines to Sign ICT Bill, Sends It Back to Parliament

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday, June 21, declined to sign into law the Information Communication Technology Practitioners Bill of 2020, commonly known as the ICT Bill.

The controversial ICT Bill was passed by the Kenyan Parliament less than two weeks ago and caused a national debate, with analysts saying it would cause a setback to several gains made in the industry over the years.

The President sent it back to parliament with memoranda, asking the house to put into consideration concerns raised by ICT practitioners.

The Bill had several segments that didn’t sit well with the general public, particularly those within the industry. For instance, the Bill requires everyone involved in sales of ICT products, repairs and/or software development to have a special license from the government.

Part of the reads “A person shall not practice as an ICT practitioner unless such person has complied with requirements for continuing education and supervision and has been issued with a valid practice license by the Council.”

Furthermore, the Bill stipulated fines and other consequences that practitioners would face if they violated various sections. It would be a punishable offence, for instance, for anyone to use the title ICT practitioner if they are not properly licensed as the Bill demands.

“Such a person to use that title commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding Ksh500,000 or an imprisonment not exceeding two years,” reads the Bill in part.

ICT CS Joe Mucheru was among Kenyans who expressed dissatisfaction with the Bill and called for its revision.

As soon as the Bill was passed by Parliament, Mucheru wrote on his official Twitter account.

“This ICT Bill is a private member’s Bill. As a Ministry, we continuously fought against this Bill in its various forms. The political season comes with all manner of surprises including failed assurances by the people responsible. I will do my part to safeguard our thriving sector.”

Other Bills rejected by the President include the Insurance Professionals Registration Bill of 2020; and the Higher Education Loans Bill of 2020.

Bills assented to by President Kenyatta include; the 2021 Radiographers Bill; National Electronic Single Window Bill; Traffic (Amendment) Bill; National Government Development Fund (Amendment) Bill; Supreme Court (Amendment) Bill of 2022; County Allocation of Revenue Bill; and Mental Health Bill.

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Simon W Nderitu

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