Today, the High Court has outlawed a section of the Kenya Information and Communications Act (KICA) where they said it limits freedom of expression.
The section in question, section 84D of KICA talks about publishing of obscene information in electronic form. Here is the section:
“Any person who publishes or transmits or causes to be published in electronic form, any material which is lascivious or appeals to be prurient interest and its effect is such as to tend to deprave and corrupt persons who are likely, having regard to all relevant circumstances, to read, see or hear the matter contained or embodied therein, shall on conviction be liable to a fine not exceeding two hundred thousand shillings or imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or both.”
Justice Winfrida Okwany declared that the sectio 84D is ‘vague and limits freedom of expression’. The court made a ruling in a case (petition no. 214 of 208) that was filed by Cyprian Nyakundi through his lawyer.
This ruling was thanks to a case against the controversial blogger Cyprian Nyakundi that was made by the governors Anne Waiguru where he was sue for derogatory remarks against them back in 2018. He denied those charges and he was freed on a Kshs 2 million bond with an alternative of a Kshs 1 million cash bail for the hate speech charge.
This ruling means that subsequent Kenyans cannot be charged in a court of law under the specific section of the KICA Act. This will cause a ripple and we will see whether there will be new laws that will be drafted to get out of this loophole.