A proposed law to regulate the Information, Communication and Technology industry has caused outrage, with bloggers and professionals describing it as a severe and suspicious move.
Published on June 7 and sponsored by National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale, debate is yet to start on the Bill because the Energy, Information and Communication committee has not yet collected views on it.
Mr Duale usually sponsors Bills on behalf of the Executive but the ICT ministry has said that the draft law did not originate from them and it “does not represent the policy position of the government".
However, the ministry said it is working on a review of ICT policy guidelines and a draft has been posted on its website so that the public can give its views.
On his verified Twitter page, ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru said the Bill “is definitely not good for Kenya”.
Mr Duale told the Nation that he sponsored the Bill in his capacity as MP after the ICT Association of Kenya petitioned Parliament over the last three years.
“They argue that all other professions have been regulated and have standards. Stakeholders will be given more time over the next three to four months to give their views and anything about it could eventually change,” he said.
Mr Kamotho Njenga, secretary-general of the association, said that most of the criticism has been on the provisions on registration and licensing of ICT practitioners, and Parliament could change that.
The Bill has been roundly criticized by bloggers and ICT professionals who see it as an attempt by the government to stifle the vibrant industry.
Already, a petition on change.org that will eventually be sent to President Kenyatta and Parliament has 2,500 signatures.