Kenya: Court orders suspension of privatization of public companies

In Kenya, the courts ruled on Monday, December 4, to suspend all privatizations. At the end of November, the government announced the sale of eleven public companies. However, a complaint was lodged by the Orange Democratic Movement, the party of opposition leader Raila Odinga.
The eleven companies up for privatization include the national oil and gas company, several agricultural enterprises, and a publishing house. These companies are “strategic” for the country, according to Raila Odinga, leader of the main opposition party, the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), who would like to see these privatizations put to a referendum.
The High Court in Nairobi ruled that ODM’s complaint had raised “legal and constitutional issues of public importance, which require critical examination.”
These eleven companies are the first batch of 35 public companies identified by the authorities for privatization. Last month, President William Ruto announced that he would eventually sell off around 100 of them to replenish the state coffers, at a time when tax revenues are falling short of his targets. Since October, the new privatization law has authorized the Treasury to privatize public companies without consulting Parliament.