What's New

  • 6 April 2017

    Kenya: Courts and the Potency of FOIA

    By James Wanjeri The author is a lawyer and formerly interned with Katiba Institute. This article first appeared April 1, 2016 in The Star. The story this week begins with access to information. It ends as a clear example of why access to information is important—namely because it can produce transparency that can go a […]

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  • 1 September 2016

    Kenyan President Signs Bill Creating Access Law

    Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta on Aug. 31 signed an Access to Information bill into law. The final text of the bill is not yet available. The Kenyan National Assembly recently approved the Senate’s changes to the ATI bill. (See previous report.) “The new law allows the public to seek information from government, and obliges […]

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News Archive

  • 25 August 2016

    Kenyan Assembly Endorses Senate Changes to ATI Bill

    The Kenyan National Assembly has approved the Senate’s changes to an Access to Information bill, according to an article in The Nation by John Ngiruchu and an article in The Standard by Alphonce Shiundu. The bill will now be presented to President Uhuru Kenyatta for his signature. “Most of what the Senate introduced were clarifications on […]

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  • 21 July 2016

    Kenyan Senate Approves Access to Information Bill

    The Senate has passed an access to information bill. The bill now goes back to the National Assembly for consideration of changes made and expected approval, according to an article in The Nation by John Ngirachu. “Among the amendments by the Senate is a provision to have information held by a public entity or private […]

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  • 28 April 2016

    Kenyan Assembly Approves Access to Information Bill

    Kenya’s National Assembly on April 28 approved an Access to Information Bill on third reading, according to media accounts such as one by Alphonce Shiundu in Standard Media and one by James Mbaka in The Star. There is ongoing  deliberation by a legal committee on whether it should be forwarded to the Senate for consideration or […]

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  • 28 January 2016

    OGP Examines Membership of Kenya, Malawi, Montenegro

    The Open Government Partnership is reviewing the memberships of three member countries that have missed two deadlines to prepare national action plans (NAPs). Kenya, Malawi and Montenegro have failed for two successive years to produce action plans, a core commitment made by OGP members. The three countries could face being declared “inactive” under the OGP […]

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  • 20 August 2015

    Kenyan Access Bill Advances; Open Data Portal Lacks Info

    Legislation to create an access to information law was given a first reading Aug. 19 in the Kenyan National Assembly. The step forward – amendments come during the second reading – came as the Kenyan Open Data portal reported that it has only received cooperation from from only 26 departments out of about 83, according […]

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  • 12 August 2015

    ATI Bill Offered in Kenya; Next Step First Reading

    A bill on Access to Information has been submitted in the Kenyan National Assembly by Hon. Priscilla Nyokabi. The bill has been published and the next step is first reading. (For text see entry 31 in a list on Kenya’s National Assembly Bill Tracker.) Despite a constitutional provision (Article 35) guaranteeing a right to information, […]

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  • 27 May 2015

    Several African Nations Criticized at OGP Meeting

    Tanzania and several other African countries were chastised on the subject of access to information at a recent regional meeting of Open Government Partnership held May 20-21 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, however, told the delegates that he plans to sign two controversial bills — on media regulation bill and freedom of information […]

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  • 23 October 2014

    Kenya: Clear Need to Respect the Right of Access to Information

    By Riva Jalipa The author is Legal Officer, ARTICLE 19–Eastern Africa. This is a chapter in a recently issued State of Right to Information in Africa Report 2014 and is reprinted with permission. (See previous report.) The violence that followed the 2007 general elections triggered wide–ranging debates and changes that form the basis of Kenya’s reform agenda today. […]

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  • 25 September 2014

    Kenyan Draft Law Faulted in Analyses by Two Groups

    A draft freedom of information law for Kenya (text) has been critically reviewed critiqued by two international organizations. “Although the draft is relatively robust,” according to one analysis, “it is significantly weaker than the version which was proposed in 2012. The Attorney General submitted the draft bill, and the legislation remains under consideration in the […]

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  • 14 August 2014

    Two FOI Bills Emerge in Kenya, One from AG

    Several right to information bills are being worked on in Kenya, including one recently announced by Attorney General Githu Muigai. Muigai now has cleared the publication of that bill, according to an article in The Star. “If enacted by the National Assembly and the Senate, it will bestow the Commission on Administrative Justice its oversight […]

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  • 16 August 2013

    Kenya Debating Transparency of Natural Resource Contracts

    Very few countries disclose the contracts made with private companies to develop natural resources, but pressure for more transparency has been on the rise, as is now on display in Kenya. The Kenyan government recently cancelled contracts with mining companies over questions about their adequacy and transparency. The International Monetary Fund had been pressuring Kenya to disclose […]

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  • 29 May 2013

    Kenyan Officials Say Lack of FOI Hampers Open Data

    The lack of a freedom of information law in Kenya is stymieing efforts to post more government  data online, according to two top officials, quoted in an article in the Daily Nation and another in Africa Review “The fact that the Freedom of Information Act is yet to go through Parliament is a major bottleneck because […]

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  • 17 May 2013

    Kenyan Court Limits Who Can Make Information Requests

    The Kenyan High Court has ruled that only citizens have a constitutional right of access to government information, preventing media groups, nongovernmental organizations and others from making requests. This outcome was criticized as a “narrow interpretation” by a Kenya-based staff person of Article 19. In the same May 13 ruling, the court deemed that the […]

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  • 17 December 2012

    Kenyan Minister Looks to Compel Publication of Data

    The minister responsible for Kenya’s open data portal says government agencies are failing to supply necessary data, according to a report by in The Sunday Nation. “Information and Communications permanent secretary Bitange Ndemo told the Sunday Nation that the ministry was getting frustrated because of the low amount of data supplied by organizations,” according to […]

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  • 25 May 2012

    Progress Slow on Drafting FOI Legislation in Kenya

    Kenya’s Constitutional Implementation Commission is continuing to draft a freedom of information bill and a data protection bill, but the process is taking longer than expected. “Too long, “ observed one person close to the process in a note to Once approved by the commission, the bills must be approved by the Cabinet  and […]

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  • 12 March 2012

    Kenyan Court Limits Access Right to Citizens

    The High Court in Kenya court has ruled that the right to information as provided for under section 35 of the Constitution is reserved only for Kenyan “citizens,” not for corporations or other entities. The court March 2 denied a request by an Indian company for documents from two Kenyan government agencies concerning a contract […]

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  • 27 January 2012

    Kenyan Draft FOI Bill Subject to More Review

    The Kenyan Constitutional Implementation Commission has asked for further modifications of a draft freedom of information law, according to an expert who attended the meeting. A few issues proved contentious and a technical committee was asked to seek further submissions from stakeholders and to make further recommendations. Below are the main provisions on which the […]

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  • 16 November 2011

    Kenya Begins Process of Developing FOI Legislation

    Kenya, with a newly minted constitutional provision guaranteeing access to information, is moving toward the development of a law to implement the right. Consideration of a freedom of information bill and a data protection bill has been started by the Constitution Implementation Commission, working with civil society groups. Among those involved are the Kenya Section […]

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  • 2 September 2011

    17 Countries Pledge to Join Open Government Partnership

    Nine countries plus the initial core group of eight have pledged to join the Open Government Partnership (OGP), a U.S. official told  Sept. 2, bringing total membership to 17. The nine countries that have sent in “letters of intent” are Kenya, Guatemala, Honduras, Albania, Macedonia, Malta, Georgia, Moldova and Slovakia. More letters are expected, […]

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  • 11 July 2011

    Kenya Creates Portal for Government Data

    Kenya July 8 launched a web portal offering free access to government information. There are over 160 datasets including the complete 2009 census, national budget data, nation and county public expenditure data, information on health care and school facilities. See the Data Catalog for a full list of what is available. “Today marks an important […]

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  • 16 September 2010

    New Kenyan Constitution Guarantees Access Right

    The new Kenyan Constitution guarantees the right of access to information, but the question is now turning to implementation. After winning 67 percent approval in a referendum, the Constitution went into effect Aug. 28, 2010. The relevant section of the new Kenyan Constitution states: Access to information 35. (1) Every citizen has the right of […]

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  • 26 May 2009

    Secret Summaries of World Bank Meetings Illuminate Proceedings

      The “minutes” of the World Bank’s executive board meetings, released publicly, are brief notations of the official action, usually one paragraph.  They reveal almost nothing about what transpired during the closed deliberations. The “summaries,” by contrast, describe the key points of discussion.  They condense, without names, the comments made by the executive directors. The […]

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  • 24 February 2004

    Parliamentarians Flex Growing Organization, Make Request of Bank

    The chairman of an international group of parliamentarians has asked the World Bank to help assure a larger role for legislatures in setting the poverty-fighting strategies within their countries. The request marks one of the first times the parliamentarians have proposed a significant and specific policy change, according to persons familiar with the group’s history. […]

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Kenya Constitution (2010)

Access to Information Law (2016) (English)



Measuring Openness

Global Right to Information Rating
A country-by-country rating of laws by the Centre for Democracy and Law and Access Info.

Freedom House
The Freedom in the World report.

World Bank
Worldwide Governance Indicators

Transparency International, Corruption Perceptions Index
Measures perceptions of the degree of corruption.

Reporters Without Borders
The Press Freedom Index.