Bill Seeks To Fine Kshs 1 Million For Refusing to Disclose Messages


A bill has been tabled before Parliament that seeks to fine Kenyans 1 million for refusing to disclose messages that the government believes breach national security.

The Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill, 2020 seeks to amend the Official Secrets Act in specific sections that pertain to current technology.

It seeks to add new definitions in the Official Secrets act of which section 6 (1) is the most interesting:

(1) “Where it appears to the Cabinet Secretary that is in the public interest to do so, the Cabinet Secretary may, by warrant under his hand, require any person who owns or controls any telecommunications apparatus sued for the sending or receipt of any data to or from any place outside Kenya, to produce to the Cabinet Secretary or any person named in the warrant, the original or transcripts of all such data and all other documents relating to such data.”

(2) “Any person who fails to comply with a request made under subsection (i1) shall be guilty of an offence and liable to an imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year.”

If passed, it will make it compulsory for anyone with a telecommunications apparatus to provide data which the State is perusing in the interest of national security.

The Bill seeks to update the aging Official Secrets Act that was passed over 50 years to be current with modern technology. The Act mentions old technology like telegrams which are not in use in our modern life. It also adds the definition of the Cabinet Secretary introduced by the new constitution as well as data which is become important in this age.