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AU Commission Warns Kenya of Privacy Infringement Amid Protests Against Finance Bill


GOOBJOOG NEWS | NAIROBI: The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) has raised concerns over the proposed amendment to the Data Protection Act under the Finance Bill 2024 proposed in Kenya.

The proposed law seeks to amend the Data Protection Act by exempting the processing of personal data by the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) from the requirements under the Act, which will make KRA able to access personal information from data processors and controllers without a court warrant.

In a statement on Wednesday, ACHPR’s Rapporteur on Human Rights in Kenya Solomon Ayele Dersso said such measures “set a dangerous precedent for government overreach and undermine the fundamental principles of privacy and civil liberties.”

The commission urged the Kenyan government to reconsider and amend the provision.

“Upholding the right to privacy is essential to maintaining public trust and adhering to the principles of human and people’s rights under the African Charter,” added Dersso.

Per the Finance Bill proposal, KRA’s freedom to access personal information would be used in cases where the disclosure is “necessary for the assessment, enforcement, or collection of any tax or duty under a written tax law.”

The proposal has however been criticised for not just infringement on taxpayers’ rights to privacy but also posing the risk of data misuse.


ACHPR’s concerns comes as demonstrations rocked major Kenyan cities in protest of the government’s proposed Finance Bill which seeks to raise $2.7 billion in additional taxes to reduce the budget deficit.

Protesters say the tax rises will hurt the economy and raise the cost of living for Kenyans who are already struggling to make ends meet.

A Kenyan parliamentary panel on Tuesday urged the government to scrap some new taxes proposed in its finance bill, including new ones on car ownership, bread, cooking oil, and financial transactions.

Riot police fired tear gas to disburse pockets of protesters in the financial district of the capital Nairobi and blocked their path to parliament.

Demonstrators in towns and cities including Nyeri, Nakuru, Eldoret and Kisumu called for lawmakers to drop the bill and waved placards with slogans like “We say no to economic dictatorship”.

The International Monetary Fund has urged the government to increase revenues in its 2024/25 budget to reduce state borrowing.

Additional reporting by agencies.