Press release September 8, 2016
Kenya: Freedom House Welcomes Decision to Implement PBO Act 2013
Kenya's Cabinet Secretary for Devolution Mwangi Kiunjuri moved to operationalize a key piece of legislation needed to create an enabling environment for civil society.
In response to the decision by Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Devolution to operationalize the Public Benefit Organizations (PBO) Act 2013, Freedom House issued the following statement:
"The Cabinet Secretary’s decision to gazette the PBO Act 2013 is an important victory for civil society and other actors who tirelessly advocated for the implementation of the Act in its original form," said Mark P. Lagon, president. “This Act intended to regulate and create an enabling environment for civil society. We, therefore, urge the Kenyan government to refrain from again attempting to introduce harmful and restrictive amendments in the future. The law should be implemented in good faith and without delay.”
Cabinet Secretary for Devolution Mwangi Kiunjuri issued a gazette notice today, a step required to operationalize the PBO Act 2013. The PBO Act 2013 was developed in consultation with civil society and follows international best practices for civil society regulation. The bill was signed into law by outgoing President Mwai Kibaki in 2013 but was never implemented. Instead, the current administration attempted multiple times to introduce restrictive amendments that would limit space for civil society to operate. These efforts to amend the PBO Act were stymied by the Civil Society Reference Group (CS-RG) and other international and national actors through sustained advocacy calling for the government to commence implementation of the Act.
Kenya is rated Partly Free in Freedom in the World 2016, Partly Free in Freedom of the Press 2016, and Free in Freedom on the Net 2015.