Amendment Seeks to Introduce Some Sanity in the Access to Information Law


The Kenya ICT Ministry in consultation with The Commission on the Administration of Justice has developed a draft Access to Information Act (General) 2021. The draft is up for assessment, meaning that the public can submit their submissions before it proceeds to the next stage.

It should be remembered that the right of access to information is part of the freedom of expression that is one of the Kenyan laws. It is, therefore, a manifestation of this freedom that is mainly key to the consolidation, functioning and preservation of democratic systems as is Kenya.

READ MORE: President Kenyatta signs Access to Information Bill into Law

On the whole, freedom of expression in the Kenya context covers the right and freedom to seek, receive and use information and ideas from all angles, which entail freedom of information.

Also, the right of access to information is under the general framework of the freedom of expression. This can be tied to the principle that every Kenya has the right to access to information about themselves or their assets, as well as the power to update, correct or amend that information.

Besides, the proposal, which can be read here, covers other key elements such as information access to officers, proactive disclosures (routine and systematic dissemination of information, in the absence of a request for it), reactive disclosure (making information available in response to a request for it), disclosure of information sourced from a third-party, records management and oversight.

Where any record contains information obtained by the information holder from a third party, the information access officer shall give notice to the third party in Form 5 set out in the Schedule before giving access.

The information access officer shall obtain the consent of the third party in Form 6 set out in the Schedule before disclosing any information in regulation 24 unless the public interest in disclosure of such information outweighs the privacy interests of the third party or any other individual to whom information contained in the record relates. – Reads part of the proposal.

Suggestions and comments should be shared before the end of June, 2021.