May 26, 2022
File Photo of UoN Professor Ben Sihanya
  • Fresh off the heels of the Supreme Court verdict on the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), one of the lawyers who defended the proposed law had his position at a government parastatal revoked by President Uhuru Kenyatta. 

    Ben Sihanya, a law professor at the University of Nairobi, served as the chairperson of the Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis (KIPPRA) had been appointed by President Kenyatta in October last year for a three-year period. 

    However, his position was revoked after only six months and Benson Ateng was appointed to take over his place. Sihanya is known for his close relationship with Azimio la Umoja Presidential flag-bearer Raila Odinga. 

    File Photo of UoN Professor Ben Sihanya

    “In exercise of the powers conferred by section 7(3) of the State Corporations Act, I, Uhuru Kenyatta, President and Commander-in-chief of the Kenya Defence Forces, appoint Benson Ateng as the Chairperson of the Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis, up to October 5, 2024, with effect from April 8, 2022.”

    “The appointment of Ben Sihanya is revoked,” read part of the Gazette notice. 

    During Sihanya’s tenure, KIPPRA released a report dubbed Kenya Economic Report 2021, that noted over 6.2 million Kenyans were pushed into poverty in the year between 2020 and 2021. 

    The organisation attributed this to income losses and pay cuts as companies devised ways of staying afloat at the time. 

    “Kenya has experienced the sharpest contraction of the economy in the last two decades. In the first quarter of 2020, the impact of the pandemic on the Kenyan economy was negligible as the economy expanded by 4.4 per cent compared to 4.8 per cent in a similar period in 2019.”

    “However, in the second quarter of 2020, the impact of the pandemic was severe, as the economy contracted by 4.7 per cent compared to an expansion of 5.9 per cent in a similar quarter in 2019,” read part of the report. 

    Sihanya had clashed with the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission (EACC) over what the agency termed a conflict of interest. The law professor, had a job at the University of Nairobi – while at the same time serving as chairperson of the ODM disciplinary committee. 

    The matter escalated to court and ruled in favour of the EACC – asking the don to either be a lecturer or quit and pursue his political ambitions. 

    Apart from representing the BBI Secretariat at the Supreme Court, Prof Sihanya was also a member of the Committee of Experts that President Uhuru Kenyatta had appointed to draft the BBI referendum bill. 

    Ethics and Anti-Corruption Comission (EACC) Offices at Integrity centre Building in Nairobi. ‎Monday, ‎18 ‎November ‎2019.
    Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) Offices at Integrity Centre in Nairobi. ‎Monday, ‎18 ‎November ‎2019.
    Simon Kiragu

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