Court Blocks President Ruto’s Bid to Privatise KICC, 10 Other Parastatals

The Ministry of Treasury has been dealt a blow in its bid to privatise the Kenya International Conference Center and 10 other parastatals.

The conservatory orders were issued by Justice Chacha Mwita on Monday in a case filed by the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) headed by Raila Odinga.

ODM had earlier raised concerns over President William Ruto’s plan to take the parastatal private arguing that they were the state’s assets financed by the public.

In his ruling, Mwita noted that the opposition raised substantial constitutional and legal issues of public importance that require critical examination and consideration by the court.

A Kenya Pipeline Company fuel reservoir.



The court, as a result, ordered the respondents, which includes the State, to file responses to the petition within 5 days.

“A conservatory order is hereby issued suspending implementation of section 21(1) of the Privatisation Act 2023 and or any decisions made pursuant to that section, until February 6, 2024, given under my hand and seal of the Honourable court this 4th Day of December 2023,” Mwita directed.

He further directed that the petitioner will then have 5 days after service, to file and serve a supplementary affidavit to which the respondent will then have 5 days to file and serve written submissions to the petition.

Both parties are expected to make filings not longer than 10 pages.

Towards the end of November, the state sought to privatise parastatals including the Kenya Pipeline Company, Kenya Literature Bureau (KLB), National Oil Corporation (NOC), and KICC among others.

A statement by the Treasury at the time indicated that some of the parastatals which depended on the exchequer for funding needed other sources of revenue while the profitable ones needed to be incorporated into limited companies. 

A few days later, Cooperatives Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui retracted an earlier directive to privatise the New Kenya Cooperative Creameries (KCC).

“I want to state as follows. On March 22, 2019, the Cabinet resolved to remove KCC from privatisation. That position stands and can only be reversed by a similar Cabinet resolution,” Chelugui assured at the time.

The latest ruling comes barely a week after Justice Mwita suspended a plan by the government to lease several berths at Mombasa and Lamu Ports.

Aggrieved entities had filed a suit protesting the move arguing that the state had not power to hand the berths to private entities.

The case is set for mention on Wednesday, December 6.

Cooperative CS Simon Chelugui addressing the media on March 17, 2023.

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