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Uncertainty as row between regulators intensifies

BUSINESS
By Frankline Sunday | January 7th 2016

A fresh power tussle is brewing between two of Kenya's most crucial regulators in the private sector, putting in jeopardy the enactment of crucial legislation targeted at levelling the economic playing field. Competition Authority of Kenya director general Francis Kariuki yesterday accused his counterpart from the Communication Authority of Kenya, Francis Wangusi, of crying wolf over the enactment of new laws that allegedly erode the powers of the former.

Mr Kariuki reckons the regulations passed by Parliament and signed by President Uhuru into law last month did not strip the powers of the Communication Authority as claimed by Wangusi, since the Authority did not have those powers in the first place.

"The amendments do not contain anything new and I think Parliament just sought to clarify what is already existing in law as pertains to the mandate of the two regulators," said Kariuki. Wangusi had claimed the new amendments strip his authority of crucial powers to police the competitive telecommunications sector.

"I cannot speak for Parliament so I do not know why they decided to put in the provisions but I think when you are a regulator it's not a matter of how powerful you are but how you use the powers," explained Kariuki.

This is not the first time the two regulators are locked in a battle for supremacy. Last year, attempts by the Communication Authority to declare Safaricom a dominant player were thwarted primarily by the Competition Authority, which disputed this assertion.

CA later sought an independent consultant to carry out a study to determine market dominance in the telecommunications, broadcast and mobile money market; the results of which were expected in the first-half of this year.

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