Activist Okiya Omtatah challenges provisions of the Data Protection Law in court

by Mahakamani News
Activist, Okiya Omtatah

Activitst Okiya Omtata has filed a petition seeking to suspend some sections of Data Protection Act, pending hearing and determination of the case.

The petition was filed under certificate of urgency. He is seeking the court to issue an interim order suspending section 5,6,51(2) (b) and 54 of the recently enacted Data Protection Act, 2019.

The activist said that the matter is extremely urgent since it seeks to stop the implementation of the Act. He argues that the act was not only enacted through an unconstitutional process but also contains unconstitutional provisions.

Omtatah contended that the Act -which was assented on Friday November 8, 2019 – is an important piece of legislation which is supposed to give further effect to the right of privacy. However, it is unconstitutional in its entirety since the senate was locked out of the process of enacting. He also added that the bill was not subjected to effective public participation as public members were only given three working days to present their contribution.

Inter alia Mr. Omtatah also stated that the blanket exemption of the Kenya Defence Forces, the National Intelligence Service and the National Police Service from complying with the provisions of the Act is a breach of Article 24 of the constitution.

“The constitution is explicit that security organs are subordinate to civilian authority and are therefore subject to obey the same including the right to privacy both in their operational matters as well as in their capacity as employees”, claimed Omtatah.

Omtatah further averred that there were two separate data protection bills under consideration in Parliament the data protection bill 2018 (Senate Bill) and the data protection bill 2019 (National Assembly). 

Omtatah further said the leader of majority in the National Assembly subjugated the Senate. He opined that Aden Duale introduced a bill which was largely an identical and duplicate bill on the same subject matter, but which, to short circuit the Senate, he falsely claimed that it was a bill not concerning county governments within the meaning of article 110 of the constitution.

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