President Kenyatta rejects Kenya’s ICT Practitioners Bill

Kenya’s President, Uhuru Kenyatta declined assent to the 2020 “contentious ICT Practitioners Bill”, which intends to license and register all local ICT professionals by a council.

Kenyatta took the decision at a ceremony in which he signed ten bills into law. The State House did not provide any reason for the rejection. Joe Mucheru was the Cabinet Secretary of Kenyan Ministry of ICT Innovation and Youth Affairs. the ministry is against the Bill.

Aden Duale was the majority leader and it was supported by Godfrey Osotsi (Kenyan MP). The Bill was intended to make sure that ICT practitioners in Kenya are degree-holding, have three years work experience, and can pay an annual license fees. The Bill also provided for jail sentences and fines for those who default. The Bill was rejected due to repetitiveness.

Osotsi has reintroduced it recently. ICT Practitioners Bill in 2020, the bill passed through the first, second, third and fourth readings. The final step in making the bill law was to get the president’s approval. Kenyatta’s latest rejection means that the Parliament will conduct further scrutiny. This could mean that certain clauses might be changed or thrown out. Kenyatta’s decision to reject the bill comes after protests from many stakeholders across the African and Kenyan ICT sectors.

Robert Mungai a Kenyan citizen who started a petition that gathered over 15,249 signatures, said that “The bill is retro-progressive. Kenyan IT professionals are largely self-taught with no college diploma or degree. Globally, ICT operates in a unique manner. It is not degrees or certificates, licenses, or certifications that have seen ICT’s progressive growth, innovations and acceptance. It is passion, determination, love for humanity.

Other Kenyan ICT professionals, such as Raymond Kaniu, were also protesting the demonstrations said that “One reason these types laws and institutions are passed is to increase accountability and transparency, enhance the nation’s ability to regulate gray areas and punish those who violate them.”

The current state of ICT professionals Kenya

Kenya is the 4th African country with the highest number of developers, only Nigeria, South Africa and Egypt are better. A number of global tech giants, such as Google and Microsoft, have established offices in Kenya. Amazon has also launched its Amazon Web Services (AWS), local zone in Kenya.

Visa opened its first African Innovation Studio in Nairobi in April. The studio was designed to develop digital payment and commerce solutions. NEAR is a partnership between Sankore and the local blockchain community to create a hub in Kenya for blockchain innovation, education, talent development and technology transfer in Africa. The engineering talent is one of the most important factors in attracting big tech to Kenya.

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