Why auctioneers' job remains a risky venture in Kenya

Deaths, legal setbacks and quacks taking over their businesses are the tales of the modern day auctioneer.

At least 400 auctioneers registered with Kenya Society of Professional Auctioneers (KSPA) and National Association of Kenya Auctioneers (Naka) are demanding the operationalisation of the amended Auctioneers Act 1996 which they say is the solution to the  challenges bedeviling the sector.

At the Auctioneers third Annual Conference in Kisumu yesterday, the practitioners demanded better regulation of their trade by the Auctioneers Licensing Board (ALB).

Even with the enactment of more than 40 regulations, the challenges have persisted, with practitioners laying blame on key stakeholders.

Top in the list of challenges, the practitioners said, are courts unwilling to help them despite their being classified as court officers.

According to the practitioners, the new laws allow them to seek police assistance during proclamation of attached assets. 

“The courts continue to drag their feet when auctioneersseek these orders,” said Peter Kirenga, a lawyer. He said the courts still think the auctioneers are up to no good. Without police assistance, auctioneers have reported resistance that put their lives at risk.

James Josiah of Nyaluoyo Auctioneers said the new laws weeded quacks out of the profession, leaving only 400 licensed to practice out of 2,000.

“It took us 11 years to find the pitfalls in the AuctioneersAct 1996, and we now have a law which is both creditor- and debtor-friendly. The board needs to work on certain overlooked rules to assist us,” he said.

Felix Appolo, the Naka national chairman, said there is need for more engagement with the public and stakeholders so as to make the trade better. 

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Kenya Society of Professional AuctioneersKSPANational Association of Kenya AuctioneersNakaAuctioneers