Court quashes laws stripping CA powers

The High Court has quashed regulations that saw Communication Authority of Kenya stripped the mandate to independently monitor dominance in the telecommunication sector.

In a ruling issued by Justice George Odunga on Tuesday, the judge faulted the regulations which were changed before being passed in Parliament and later signed into law by President Uhuru Kenyatta two years ago.

“In my view an amendment that has an impact on either the letter or spirit of the Constitution however remotely cannot be termed as ‘minor non-controversial’ and generally housekeeping amendments,” said Justice Odunga.

The judge however dismissed the case which had been taken to court by activist Okiya Omtatah.

He had sued the Authority, the information Cabinet Secretary, the Attorney General, Airtel Networks Kenya limited, Mr Ben Ngituku Ngene and CA director general Francis Wangusi among others.

The regulations had curbed the telecom regulator’s ability to manage competition in the sector.

But with the verdict, one of the tasks that lay ahead of the Authority was to determine whether mobile phone telecommunication company Safaricom has too much market power over its competitors Airtel and Orange.

Mr Omtatah had challenged the fact that the CS had withdrawn cases at the Appellate court on the disbandment of the authority’s board.

He had argued that no resolution had been reached and that the matter involved a lot of public interest while terming the withdrawal as oppressive.

He further claimed that the disbandment of the board was as a result of infighting hence wanted the gazette notice announcing it determined on whether it was a nullity in law or not.

But the sued parties wanted the case dismissed arguing that it did not meet threshold of a constitutional case.

In his verdict, the judge upheld those arguments but went ahead to quash the 2015 amended regulations.

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