Kenya: Parliament passes Access to Information law
19 Aug 2016
ARTICLE 19 welcomes the recent passage of the Access to Information Bill 2015 by the National Assembly and the Senate, and calls on the President to append his signature to enable its assent into law. The passage of the Bill is the culmination of years of advocacy, undertaken principally by civil society, to have a right to information law in place.
‘The passage of this Bill heralds a new era for transparency in the country, as citizens will now be enabled to access and use information to hold their government accountable and promote legitimate good governance in the country,’ said Henry Maina, the Director, ARTICLE 19 Eastern Africa.
The Bill positively enshrines a number of progressive freedom of information principles, as it affirms a legally enforceable right for every citizen to access all information held by public entities and private bodies; clear and simple procedures for assessing information; the creation of comprehensive proactive disclosure regime; and provision for exempt information subject to international standards.
“Considerations should now be made to ensure the effective implementation of the provisions within the bill and the empowerment of oversight institutions such as the Commission on Administrative Justice. We also call for the speedy formulation of the regulations by the Cabinet Secretary, once the Bill assents into law, which should be realized through a consultative process that are inclusive of other stakeholders like the private sector and CSOs,” added Maina.
The Bill confers on the Commission on Administrative Justice (CAJ) oversight and enforcement powers over the provisions of the Act and requires the Commission to work with other public bodies on the promotion of access to information. It’s also mandated to hear and determine complaints and review decisions arising from breach of provisions of the Act.
The Bill was sponsored to the National Assembly as a private members bill by the Women Representative for Nyeri County Hon. Priscilla Nyokabi.
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