Kenya: Senate Approves Bill on Access to Information

Senators have passed a Bill whose enactment would allow Kenyans more access to information held by the Government.

The Access to Information Bill, which is among pending laws that should be enacted by August 27 to implement the Constitution promulgated six years ago, will be returned to the National Assembly, which will consider the changes made and if the MPs agree, will hand it over to the President for assent.

Any changes made by the Senate will have to be approved by MPs and a mediation team formed in case of a deadlock.

Among the amendments by the Senate is a provision to have information held by a public entity or private body provided “expeditiously at a reasonable cost”.

The Bill strikes a balance between opening up access to information and protecting that considered too sensitive or of strategic national importance.

Other Bills passed on Thursday after the Senate held an extra sitting in the morning to fast-track the pending laws were: Energy, the Petroleum (exploration, development, and production), Protection of Traditional Knowledge and Cultural Expressions, Health and Forest Conservation and Management .

Source: The Nation