Kenya passes law to regulate Tech Workers


    The Kenyan Parliament has passed a controversial law that seeks to regulate “anyone who employs technologies to collect, process, store or transfer information for a fee”.

    Introduced in 2016, the ICT Practitioners Bill mandates the registration and licensing of vaguely defined “ICT practitioners” by a council.

    Also Read: NITA to register ICT practitioners, companies to ensure sanity

    The proposal defines it as, “all individuals who have completed a university education with at least 3 years of relevant experience.” These “practitioners” would also need to pay an annual license fee, and there are outlined jail terms and fines for individuals who failed to comply.

    When it was introduced in 2016, Kenya’s tech community fought against it and it was withdrawn.

    At the time, Joseph Mucheru, Cabinet Secretary in Kenya’s Ministry of Information and Computer Technology, had said, “If enacted, the ICT Protection Bill 2016 will cause duplication in regulation and frustrate individual talents from realising their potential.”

    Two years later, in 2018, the bill was reintroduced but it faced the same backlash and was once again rejected.

    Amidst the pandemic, in November 2020, the bill was reintroduced with superficial amendments that removed degree requirements, jail terms, and fines for people who fail to register.

    And last Wednesday, in a sleepy parliamentary session, the bill was quietly passed and now awaits presidential assent.

    The future of techies in Kenya lies in President Uhuru Kenyatta’s pen. If he assents, then the bill will be a dent in what many consider Africa’s Silicon Savannah.


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