Tuko Bloggers Freed Following a Dropped Computer Misuse Case


On Tuesday last week, two Tuko Kenya bloggers were held by the DCI for publishing information that was allegedly false, making it an offense according to the Computer Misuse and Cybercrime Act.

According to Nairobi News, the two, namely Milton Were and Jack Okinyi, had written a story citing that a multi-billion-shilling Kenya Urban Roads Authority tender had allegedly been awarded to one Abdisirat khalif Ali and his family, alongside another member of parliament.

The story has since been pulled down because it was ostensibly soiling the name of the said family.

They have since been released after it was revealed that the case did not hit a given threshold as stipulated by the law.

The Computer Misuse and Cybercrime Act has had its fair share of criticism over the months, and has since been supported by the courts as ‘constitutional.’

A review of the Act has since highlighted some provisions that we presented here a little over two years ago.

Here is what we covered back then:

Several groups have come up against the new law; these include civil society organizations such as Article 19, the Media Council of Kenya, the Public Interest Litigation arm of the law society, and the Bloggers Association of Kenya.

One of the common concerns is the offenses relating to fake news. The law provides that “A person who knowingly publishes information that is false in print, broadcast, data or over a computer systemthat is calculated or results in panic, chaos, or violence among citizens of the Republicor which is likely to discredit the reputation of a person commits an offense and shall on conviction, be liable to a fine not exceeding five million shillings or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years, or both.”

A famous court decision of Republic v Geoffrey Andare had the impact of declaring section 29 of the Communications Act (KICA) unconstitutional because the section was vague and too broad. In my personal opinion, this is a problematic section and it doesn’t meet the Constitutional threshold of laws.