ICT practitioners have rejected the proposals contained in the Information Communication Technology Practitioners Bill.
The Kenya ICT Practitioners bill is once again back – with its ability to stifle innovation, damage the ICT industry in Kenya, and make the country a far less welcoming place for those in the industry to participate. The bill does this by forcing the licensing of every individual deemed to be an “ICT practitioner” while defining such in manners broad enough to cover 80% of the human population. It does this without proper public consultation. It does this without research backing its efficacy. It insults the intelligence of Kenyan companies by dictating who they may hire and for what reasons. In every sense of the word – this bill is a cancer to the industry, and twice it has been tried before, and twice it has died. This petition implores the ministry of ICT to take a stand and say no – for the good of the industry that they are meant to represent. As such, we implore the ministry to #KillTheIctBill once and for all, let it be relegated to the pages of history as yet another bad idea, where people saw the light and chose the country, the economy, the people, and the industry over their own profiteering goals – A Petition reads.
The ICT Bill 2021 proposes stifling measures in the country.
In a country that has over 70 per cent unemployment rates, most youths have take to survival tactics, most of which is powered by the Information, Communication technology – ICT. Forcing them to register with the government is tantamount to control and is very bad for business.
The law partly states, “33. (1) A person who, not being eligible licensed or registered under this. Act, wilfully and takes or uses any name, title or addition or qualification to practice as an ICT practitioner, not being registered or licensed under this Act, for professes to practice or publishes that person as practising as an ICT practitioner, commits an and shall be liable on conviction to a fine, not ex five hundred thousand shillings or to imprisonment term not exceeding two years, or both”.
Furthermore, ICT practitioners will be required to renew the license annually.
The Bill also proposes the establishment of an ICT Practitioners Institute that will be governed by a council.
The Bill proposes a council comprising: secretaries from the ICT Ministry and National Treasury, officials from the ICT authority and academia, members from the Information Communication Technology Association and Telecommunication Service Providers of Kenya (TESPOK).
The ICT Practitioners Institute will be charged with registering and licensing ICT practitioners, issuing approval fro training programmes and advising the government on policies in the industry.
In a killer punch to the fast-growing industry, there is also that part where the Kenyan Govt wants to tax online activity. Not forgetting the Computer Misuse and Cyber Crime Act of 2018 which seeks to stifle freedom of speech online.
For the Information Communication Technology Practitioners Bill , ICT practitioners in the country to social media platform, Twitter to express displeasure with the new bill.
Here are some of the tweets we sampled:
It failed twice for a reason, and it's still no good. What is this gvt becoming?
Joseph Mucheru: Killing the ICT Practitioner bill – Sign the Petition! https://t.co/qtj3YIBc3i via @Change #KillTheIctBill
— Steve Kisinga (@stevekisinga) December 2, 2020
— Jahson K (@Jahson_k) December 3, 2020
So if ur pursuing computer science, there's a half educated nondescript that can't develop a basic calculator app waiting at GoK to charge u for permission to develop anything that he can't develop. GoK is just a Mafia #KillTheICTBill
— Kerr Owino (@PharaohMenya) December 2, 2020
The govt is trying to pass a bill that will require you to have a license before providing any ICT services, this is backwards, will kill and limit innovations and also cripple the digital economy.
We can not let this happen!#KillTheICTBill here https://t.co/gDAfmcLieR
— Theo (@Theo_mwangi) December 4, 2020
Let's lend a hand in making sure we are not led down a road of control by people who are only opportunists in the tech industry that has taken years to form itself in our great country Kenya!!#KillTheIctBillhttps://t.co/SIT0Ff1vtB
— Collo Omaza (@collo_conto) December 2, 2020
You can't write code if you're not licensed.
You can't sell computers if you're not licensed.
— Jumah Francoisⓙⓕ (@francoInformar) December 3, 2020
— LoloAles (@LoloAles) December 3, 2020
— Kev (@Nivekkav) December 4, 2020
#KillTheICTBill Whoever came up with this bill must be sick!
— Code Blooded 🖥 (@ErickIvuto) December 3, 2020