Kenya: New dawn for transparency as Access to Information law is passed

ARTICLE 19 welcomes the assent into law of the Access to Information Act 2015. President Uhuru Kenyatta assented to the Bill on 31 August 2016. Kenya is the 19th country on the African continent to pass an access to information law.

We congratulate the President in assenting to the access to information law. The passage of the Act heralds a new dispensation of openness in the country and underlines the President’s commitment to promote transparency and accountability within government,” said Henry Maina, Director of ARTICLE 19 Eastern Africa.

The Act articulates the processes by which citizens can request for information from public entities and relevant private bodies, and penalizes the withholding of information by public information officers.  It also prescribes the procedures for complaints, and confers upon the Commission on Administrative Justice enforcement and oversight powers.

We should now prioritize the implementation of the provisions of the Act. This requires the understanding of different stakeholders including the executive, judiciary, media, CSOs and the private sector of their roles in implementation,” added Maina.

ARTICLE 19 Eastern Africa notes however  that the Act may have a few challenges on matters of scope, as it seems to exempt cabinet deliberations and records from disclosure, and broadly defines national security. We hope that the requirement by the Act that the Cabinet Secretary formulates regulations should be taken as an opportunity to narrow exemptions and broaden the scope of disclosure by the Executive. Other issues to be articulated by the regulations include formats, record keeping by public entities, accuracy of information and complaints procedures.


FOR MORE INFORMATION:

For more media interviews please contact: Sandra Musoga, Senior Programme Officer, Access to Information, ARTICLE 19 Eastern Africa Email: sandra@article19.org or call on +254 20 3862230/1/2