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Legal and Policy Framework on Energy Justice in Kenya



By Dr. Kariuki Muigua, PhD (Leading Environmental Law Scholar, Natural Resources Lawyer and Dispute Resolution Expert in Kenya)*

The legal and policy framework for energy justice in Kenya includes the provision of the Constitution on energy resources, energy policy and regulation and the respective rights tied to provision of energy in the country. The Energy Act, 2019 and the institutional framework established under it as well as the National Energy Policy, 2018 are also important in safeguarding and guaranteeing the realization of energy justice in the country.  Further, the legal and constitutional provisions outlining the respective roles of the two levels of Government and how they may exercise their mandates contain crucial guidelines on energy justice.

Constitution of Kenya, 2010

The Constitution enshrines economic and social rights of all in Kenya. In particular, Article 43 of the Constitution provides for the economic and social rights of all persons. It provides for the rights of all persons to: to the highest attainable standard of health, which includes the right to health care services, including reproductive health care; to accessible and adequate housing, and to reasonable standards of sanitation; to be free from hunger, and to have adequate food of acceptable quality; to clean and safe water in adequate quantities; to social security; and to education. Access to energy is crucial for the realisation of most of these rights.

This provision was tested recently in the ongoing case where, in the quest for energy justice, the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) has sued the Ministers of Energy and National Treasury over the escalation of Energy Prices in Kenya. KHRC states in its pleadings that “the sharp rise in fuel can be attributed to a policy shift where the State abruptly suspended a fuel subsidy designed to cushion customers from higher fuel prices. The rise in fuel costs is expected to hurt Kenyans as the cost of living surges, with the prices of other commodities rising as a result of higher petrol cost.” KHRC also notes that the fuel taxes in the country are half the total amount charged at the pump and argued that the move to overtax fuel and energy is an impediment to basic rights such as food, housing, healthcare and water.

In addition to the KHRC, two private Kenyans, Isaiah Odando and Wilson Yata have moved to court to challenge the recent hike in fuel prices and seeking to quash the decision by Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) to adjust petroleum excise duty rates on the basis that it was made without public participation. AS stated in their petition: “The decision by the Commissioner General of the Kenya Revenue Authority to adjust excise duty rates for petroleum products though discretionary has been described as a burden by the already overtaxed Kenyans and was devoid of proper public participation at a time when Kenyans are reeling from the economic consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic thereby compromising the people’s entitlement to social justice under Article 10 of the constitution.”

Further, the Constitution recognises energy as part of natural resources. Indeed, Article 260 recognizes energy as part of the natural resources in Kenya by defining natural resources as including physical non-human factors and components, whether renewable or non-renewable, including inter alia rocks, minerals, fossil fuels and other sources of energy. In turn, Article 69 of the Constitution guarantees the right of access to natural resources including energy for the people of Kenya. Equitable sharing of the accruing benefits of these natural resources is also guaranteed. Energy can be seen as an accruing benefit and therefore, Kenyan people are entitled to the benefits of the same. Thus, Article 69 (h) of the Constitution obligates the state to energy resources for the benefit of the people of Kenya and guarantee access to energy.

Consequently, the state has an obligation to ensure sustainable exploitation, utilisation, management and conservation of the environment and natural resources including energy, and ensure the equitable sharing of the accruing benefits from such resources.  The Constitution further identifies sustainable development as one of the national values and principles that is to guide the development agenda in the country. Sustainable exploitation and utilisation of energy as a natural resource will guarantee energy justice by achieving intra and inter-generational equity.

In addition, the Constitution provides for a two tier structure of government, that is, the National and the County Governments. It distributes the functions and powers between the two levels as outlined in Chapter Eleven and the Fourth Schedule. Fourth schedule specifically provides that the national Government is mandated with the protection of the environment and natural resources with a view to establishing a durable and sustainable system of development, including, in particular inter alia energy policy including electricity and gas reticulation and energy regulation. This function is not exclusive to the national Government since under county planning and development, the counties are also charged with inter alia electricity and gas reticulation and energy regulation.

Energy Act, No. 1 of 2019

The Energy Act mandates the government to facilitate the provision of affordable energy services to all persons in Kenya. In Part III, the Act establishes National Energy Entities which are the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority, Energy and Petroleum Tribunal, Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Corporation and Nuclear Power and Energy Agency. The Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority is mainly tasked with regulatory activities related to inter alia the generation, importation, exportation, distribution and supply of electric energy, petroleum and petroleum products, renewable energy and other forms of energy.

The Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Corporation is tasked with overseeing the implementation of the rural electrification programme and promoting the use of renewable energy and technologies among other functions. The Nuclear Power and Energy Agency is tasked with inter alia implementation of the nuclear energy programme and promoting the development of nuclear electricity generation in Kenya. Implementation of the Act is important in enhancing energy justice in Kenya as the National Energy Entities established under the Act have the ability to promote attainment of the right to energy in Kenya. The Energy and Petroleum Tribunal is established for purposes of hearing and determining disputes and appeals relating to the energy and petroleum sector in accordance with the Act.

As stipulated under section 25 of the Act, there is no doubt the jurisdiction of the Energy and Petroleum Tribunal is capable of significantly contributing to the enhancement of energy justice in Kenya through its decisions and pronouncements. In particular, the Tribunal has jurisdiction to hear determine all matters referred to it relating to the energy and petroleum sector arising under the Energy Act or any other Act with exception of the trial of any criminal offence. It also has original civil jurisdiction on any dispute between a licensee and a third party or between licensees. Further, the Energy and Petroleum Tribunal bears appellate jurisdiction over the decisions of the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) and any licensing authority. It is entitled to grant equitable reliefs including but not limited to injunctions, penalties, damages, specific performance.

National Energy Policy, 2018

The National Energy Policy, 2018 recognises energy as a critical component in the economy, standard of living and national security of a country. It is geared towards achieving several objectives which include inter alia improving access to affordable, competitive and reliable energy services, promoting energy efficiency and conservation and promoting diversification of energy supply sources in Kenya to ensure security of supply. It sets out several policies and strategies towards the use, development and conservation of energy sources in the country such as coal resources, renewable energy and electricity. The Policy also contains Energy efficiency and conservation measures aimed at reducing energy consumption without sacrificing productivity or increasing costs. It is an ambitious policy document that is central to the attainment of the national development blueprint, Kenya Vision 2030 and the Government‘s Big Four Agenda. Effective implementation of the Policy may promote energy security and justice in the country.

*This is article is an extract from an article by Dr. Kariuki Muigua, PhD, Muigua, K., Towards Energy Justice in Kenya, Available at: 2020/02/Towards-Energy-Justice-in-Kenya-00000005.pdf. Dr. Kariuki Muigua is Kenya’s foremost Environmental Law and Natural Resources Lawyer and Scholar, Sustainable Development Advocate and Conflict Management Expert. Dr. Kariuki Muigua is a Senior Lecturer of Environmental Law and Dispute resolution at the University of Nairobi School of Law and The Center for Advanced Studies in Environmental Law and Policy (CASELAP). He has published numerous books and articles on Environmental Law, Environmental Justice Conflict Management, Alternative Dispute Resolution and Sustainable Development. Dr. Muigua is also a Chartered Arbitrator, an Accredited Mediator, the Africa Trustee of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and the Managing Partner of Kariuki Muigua & Co. Advocates. Dr. Muigua is recognized as one of the leading lawyers and dispute resolution experts by the Chambers Global Guide 2021 and nominated as ADR Practitioner of the Year (Nairobi Legal Awards) 2021. 


Bildirici. M & Ozaksoy.F., ‘Woody Biomass Energy Consumption and Economic Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa’ Procedia Economics and Finance 38 (2016) 287 – 293.

Constitution of Kenya, 2010, Government Printer, Nairobi

Energy Act, No.1 of 2019, S 7(1), Government Printer, Nairobi.

Guruswamy. L, ‘Energy Justice and Sustainable Development’ Colorado Journal of International Environmental Law & Policy, Volume 21, No. 2.

Goldthau. A & Sovacool. B., ‘The Uniqueness of the Energy Security, Justice and Governance Problem’ Energy Policy, 41 (2012) 232-240.

Heffron. J.R., & McCauley. D., ‘The Concept of Energy Justice across the Disciplines’ Energy Policy 105 (2017) 658-667, available at: (Accessed on 22/11/2021).

Jenkins. K, et al, ‘Energy Justice: A Conceptual Review’ Energy Research & Social Science 11 (2016) 174- 182.

Kihiu, N., “Two in Court Over Hiked Fuel Prices as Outcry Rages on,” (Capital FM, September 2021), Available at: (Accessed on 21/11/2022).

Ministry of Energy, National Energy Policy, 2018, Government Printer, Nairobi.

Muigua. K., ‘Access to Energy as a Constitutional Right in Kenya’, available at (Accessed on 22/11/2021).

Muthoni, K., “Human Rights Body Asks Court to Force State to Reduce Fuel Prices,” (The Standard, October 2021), Available at: 2001425587/human-rights-body-asks-court-to-force-state-to-reduce-fuel-prices (Accessed on 21/11/2022).

Newell. P. & Philips. J., ‘Neoliberal Energy Transitions in the South: Kenyan Experience’ Geoforum, 74 (2016) 39-48.

Njiru. C.W & Letema. S.C., ‘Energy Poverty and its Implication on Standard of Living in Kirinyaga, Kenya’ Journal of Energy, 2018, Available at: (accessed on 22/11/2021).

Sovacool,B.K. & Dworkin,  Global Energy Justice: Problems, Principles and Practices (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2014).

Sovacool. B.K., ‘Energy Decisions Reframed as Justice and Ethical Concerns’ Energy Justice 1, available at (Accessed on 22/11/2021).

United Nations Development Programme, ‘Sustainable Development Goals’ available at (Accessed on 23/01/2020).

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, ‘Goal No. 7: Ensure Access to Affordable, Reliable, Sustainable and Modern Energy’ available at (accessed on 22/11/2021).

United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, ‘Rio Declaration on Environment and Development’ 1992, Principles 3 and 4.

World Bank, ‘Sustainable Development Goal on Energy (SDG7) and the World Bank Group, available at (Accessed on 22/11/2021).

Yoshida. T., & Zusman. E., ‘Achieving the Multiple Benefits of a Sustainable Development Goal for Energy’ Available at Achieving_ the_SDGs_.pdf (Accessed on 22/11/2021).

News & Analysis

Former KCB Company Secretary Sues Over Unlawful Dismissal




Former KCB Group Company Secretary Joseph Kamau Kania who has sued the Bank for Unlawful Dismissal

Former KCB Group Company Secretary Joseph Kamau Kania has sued the lender seeking reinstatement or be compensated for illegal sacking almost three years ago. Lawyer Kania was the KCB Group company secretary until restructuring of the lender in 2021 that saw some senior executives dropped.

Through the firm of Senior Counsel Wilfred Nderitu, Kamau wants the court to order KCB Group to unconditionally reinstate him to employment without altering any of the contractual terms until his retirement in December 2025.

In his court documents filed before Employment and Labour Relations Court, the career law banker seeks the court to declare the reorganization of the company structure a nullity and amounted to a violation of his fundamental right to fair labour practices as guaranteed in Article 41(1) of the Constitution. He further wants the court to declare that the position of Group Company Secretary did not at any time cease to exist within the KCB Group structure.

He further urged the Employment Court to declare that the recruitment and appointment of Bonnie Okumu, his former assistant, as the Group Company Secretary, in relation to the contemporaneous termination of his employment, was unprocedural, insufficient and inappropriate to infer a lawful termination of his employment.

“A declaration that the factual and legal circumstances of the Petitioner’s termination of employment were insufficient and inappropriate to infer a redundancy against him, and that any redundancy declared by the KCB Group in relation to him was therefore null, void and of no legal effect and amounted to a violation of his fundamental right to fair labour practices as guaranteed in Article 41(1) of the Constitution,” seeks lawyer Kamau.

Kamau says he was subjected to discriminatory practices by the KCB Bank Group in violation of his fundamental right to equality and freedom from discrimination as guaranteed in Article 27 of the Constitution and the termination of his employment was unfair, unjustified, illegal, null and void.

Lawyer Kamau further seeks the court to declare that the Non-Compete Clause in the 2016 Contract is unenforceable by the KCB Group as against him and is voidable by him as against the Bank ab initio, byreason of the termination of the Petitioner’s employment having been a violation of Articles 41(1) and 47(1) and (2) of the Constitution, and of the Employment Act.

He also wants the Employment Court to find that finding that KCB’s group legal representation by Messrs of Mohammed Muigai LLP Advocates law firm in respect of his claim for unlawful termination of employment resulted in a clear conflict of interest by reason of the fact that a Founding and Senior Partner at the said firm lawyer Mohammed Nyaoga is also the Chairman of the CBK’s Board of Directors.

“A Declaration that the circumstances of KCB’s legal representation by Messrs. Mohammed Muigai LLP Advocates resulted in a violation of the Petitioner’s fundamental right to have the employment dispute decided independently and impartially, as guaranteed in Article 50(1) of the Constitution,” seeks lawyer Kamau.

Kamau is seeking damages against both KCB Group and Central Bank of Kenya jointly and severally for the violation of his constitutional and fundamental right to fair labour practices.

He wants  further wants court to declare that CBK is liable to petitioner on account of its breach of statutory duty to effectively regulate KCB Group to ensure that KCB complied with the Central Bank of Kenya Prudential Guidelines and all other Laws, Rules, Codes and Standards, and that, as an issuer of securities, it complied with capital markets legislation.

Kamau through his lawyer Nderitu told the court that he was involved in Shareholder engagement in introducing the Group aide-mémoire that significantly improved the management of the Annual General Meetings, including obtaining approval without voting through the Memorandum and Articles of Association of Kenya Commercial Bank Limited among others.

He said that during his employment at KCB Bank Kenya and with the KCB Group, he initially worked well with former KCB CEO Joseph Oigara until 2016 when the CEO allegedly started sidelining him by removing the legal function from his reporting line.

He further claims he was transferred from the Group’s offices at Kencom House to its offices Upper Hill under the guise that the Petitioner was merely to support the KCB Group Board.

He adds that at that point his roles were given to Okumu for reasons that were not related to work demands.  He stated that Oigara at one time proposed that he should leave his role in the KCB Group and go and serve as the Company Secretary of the National Bank of Kenya Limited, a subsidiary of the Group, a suggestion which he disagreed with to Oigara’s utter annoyance.

Kamau stated that his work was thenceforth unfairly discredited, leading to his being taken through a disciplinary process whose intended outcome failed miserably, and the Petitioner was vindicated.

“More specifically, the Petitioner contends that the purported creation of a new organizational structure towards the end of 2020 was in fact Oigara’s orchestration targeted to remove certain individuals by requiring them to undergo interviews in the pretext that new roles were created, and amounted to a further violation of the Petitioner’s fundamental right to fair labour practices under Article 41(1) of the Constitution,” said in his court documents.

He further adds that this sham reorganization demonstrates how the role of the KCB Group Company Secretary purportedly ceased to be and was then very briefly replaced with a new role of the KCB Group General Counsel. The role of KCB Group Company Secretary then ‘resurfaced’ immediately thereafter, in total violation of legal and regulatory requirements.

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Court of Appeal Upholds Eviction of Radcliffes from Karen Land




Adrian Radcliffe, the Expatriate Squatter, Evicted from Karen Property by Innocent Purchaser for Value

The Court of Appeal has stayed the decision of the Environment and Land Court purporting to reinstate Adrian Radcliffe into possession of the 5.7 Acre Karen Land by Kena Properties Ltd after eviction by the lawful owners in February 2022. Adrian Radcliffe who was evicted by Kena Properties Ltd, the innocent purchaser of the Land for value.

Before his eviction, Mr. Radcliffe had been living on the land as a squatter expatriate for 33 years without paying any rent. Since he moved into the property as a tenant, he only paid deposit for the land in August 1989 despite corresponding severally with the owner of the land. His attempt to acquire the land by adverse possession claim filed in 2005 was dismissed by Court in 2011 on the basis that he has engaged with the owner of the land July 1997 and agreed to buy the land which he failed to do. The High Court [Justice Kalpana Rawal as she then was] concluded that:

“His [Mr. Adrian Radcliffe] averments that he did not have any idea of the whereabouts of the Defendant and that he could possibly be not alive, were not only very sad but mala fide in view of the correspondence on record addressed by him to the Defendant’s wife. I would thus find that the averments made by him to the contrary are untrue looking to the facts of this case.”

On 10th March 2022, Mr. Adrian Radcliffe and Family purported to obtain court orders for reinstatement into the land. However, the Court of Appeal issued an interim stay of execution of the said orders. The Court of Appeal has now granted the application of Kena Properties Ltd and stayed the execution of the Environment and Land Court Order pending the hearing and determination of the Appeal.

The Court also stayed the proceedings at the Environment and Land Court on the matter during the pendency of the Appeal. In effect, the eviction orders issued by the Chief Magistrate Court for eviction of Mr. Adrian Radcliffe in favour of Kena Properties as the purchaser of the property for value were upheld and the company now enjoys unfettered ownership and possession of the suit property until the conclusion of the Appeal.

The Court of Appeal in granting the orders sought by Kena Properties Ltd concurred with Kena Properties Ltd that as the property owner it had an arguable appeal with a high probability of success which would be rendered nugatory if Adrian Radcliffe a trespasser was to resume his unlawful possession of the suit property, erect structures thereon, recklessly use or abuse the said suit property as he deems fit. In any case, that is bound to fundamentally alter the state of the suit property and render it unusable by Kena Properties Ltd as the property owner.

At the same time, the Appellate Court rubbished the argument of Adrian Radcliffe in opposition to the application for stay that he has been in occupation of the suit property for more than 30 years and that he and his family were unlawfully evicted from the suit property on 4th February, 2022. The Court also rejected Radcliffe’s claim that Kena Properties Ltd has no valid title to the suit property and held that as the purchaser, the company was entitled to enjoy ownership and possession of their property during the pendency of the appeal.

The Court dismissed claims of Mr. Adrian Radcliffe that Kena Properties Ltd as the property owner acquired title to the suit property illegally and unprocedurally finding to the contrary. Further, it rejected Adrian Radcliffe’s claim that Kena Properties as the purchaser cannot evict a legal occupier of a property putting paid to the claim that he was a legal occupier at the time of eviction.

As a matter of fact, Mr. Adrian Radcliffe cannot claim to be the legal occupier of the property having attempted to acquire it by adverse possession before the High Court thwarted his fraudulent scheme on 28th February 2011. Mr. Radcliffe did not appeal the 2011 High Court decision meaning it is still the law that he is not the owner of the land nor the legal occupier of the land having attempted to adversely acquire against the interests of the lawful owner who sold it to Kena Properties.

Mr. Adrian Radcliffe is a well-to-do Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WaSH) UNICEF consultant and former UN employee (who has been earning hefty House Allowance). Many have wondered why he has been defaulting in paying rent for 33 years on the prime plot of land in Karen while living large and taking his kids to most expensive schools in Kenya. No question, a local Kenyan could never have gotten away with such selfish impunity.

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News & Analysis

Review: Journal of Conflict Management and Sustainable Development, Vol. 9, No. 1




The Journal of Conflict Management and Sustainable Development, Volume 9, Issue No. 1, which is edited by and published by Dr. Kariuki Muigua, PhD is out and stays true to the reputation of the journal in providing a platform for scholarly debate on thematic areas in the fields of Conflict Management and Sustainable Development. The current issue published in September 2022 covers diverse topics including Resolving Oil and Gas Disputes in Africa; National Environment Tribunal, Sustainable Development and Access to Justice in Kenya; Protection of Cultural Heritage During War; The Role of Water in the attainment of Sustainable Development in Kenya; Property Rights in Human Biological Materials in Kenya; Nurturing our Wetlands for Biodiversity Conservation; Investor-State Dispute Resolution in a Fast-Paced World; Status of Participation of Women in Mediation; Business of Climate Change and Critical Analysis of World Trade Organization’s Most-Favored Nation (MFN) Treatment.

Dr. Wilfred A. Mutubwa and Eunice Njeri Ng’ang’a in “Resolving Oil and Gas Disputes in an Integrating Africa: An Appraisal of the Role of Regional Arbitration Centres” explore the nature of disputes in the realm of oil and gas in Africa taking a look into the recent continental and sub-regional developments in a bid to establish regional integration. Additionally, it tests the limits of intra-African trade and dispute resolution and the imperatives for the African regional courts and arbitration centres. In “National Environment Tribunal, Sustainable Development and Access to Justice in Kenya,” Dr. Kariuki Muigua discusses the role played by the National Environment Tribunal (NET) in promoting access to justice and enhancing the principles of sustainable development in Kenya. The paper also highlights challenges facing the tribunal and proposes recommendations towards enhancing the effectiveness of the tribunal.

Dr. Kenneth Wyne Mutuma in “Protecting Cultural Heritage in Times of War: A Case for History,” argues that cultural heritage is at the heart of human existence and its preservation even in times of war is sacrosanct. It concludes that it is thus critical for states to take positive and tangible steps to ensure environmental conservation and protection during war within the ambit of the existing international legal framework. In “The Role of Water in the attainment of Sustainable Development in Kenya,” Jack Shivugu critically evaluates the role of water in the attainment of sustainable development in Kenya and argues water plays a critical role in the attainment of the sustainable development goals both in Kenya and at the global stage. The paper interrogates some of the water and Sustainable Development concerns in Kenya including water pollution, water scarcity and climate change and suggests practical ways to enhance the role of water in the Sustainable Development agenda.

Dr. Paul Ogendi in “Collective Property Rights in Human Biological Materials in Kenya,” reflects on property rights in relation to human biological materials obtained from research participants participating in genomic research. He argues that property rights are crucial in genomic research because they can help avoid exploitation or abuse of such precious material by researchers. In “Nurturing our Wetlands for Biodiversity Conservation,” Dr. Kariuki Muigua notes that Wetlands have a vital role in not just delivering ecological services to meet human needs, but also in biodiversity conservation. Wetlands are vital habitat sites for many species and a source of water, both of which contribute to biodiversity protection. The paper examines the role of wetlands in biodiversity conservation and how these wetland resources might be managed to improve biodiversity conservation.

Oseko Louis D. Obure in “Investor-State Dispute Resolution in a Fast-Paced World,” preponderance of disputes between States or States and Investors created need for a robust, effective, and efficient mechanisms not only for the resolution of these disputes but also their prevention. He notes that developing states lead in being parties to Investor-State Disputes (ISD) particularly as respondents. He proceeds to conceptualize and problematize investor-state disputes resolution in a fast-paced world. Lilian N.S. Kong’ani and Dr. Kariuki Muigua in “Status of Participation of Women in Mediation: A case Study of Development Project Conflict in Olkaria IV, Kenya” review the status of participation of women in mediation to resolve conflicts between KenGen and the community. The paper demonstrates a need for further democratization of the mediation processes to cater for more participation of women to enhance the mediation results and offer more sustainable resolutions.

Felix Otieno Odhiambo and Melinda Lorenda Mueni in “The Business of Climate Change: An Analysis of Carbon Trading in Kenya analyses the business of carbon trading in the context of Kenya’s legal framework. The article examines the legal framework that underpins climate change into the Kenyan legal system and provides an exposition of the concept of carbon trading and its various forms. Michael Okello, in “Critical Analysis of World Trade Organisation’s Most-Favored Nation (MFN) Treatment: Prospects, Challenges and Emerging Trends in the 21st Century,” highlights the rationale behind MFN treatment and also restates the vision of multilateral trade to achieve equitable and special interventions with respect to trade in goods, services and trade related intellectual property rights in the affected states.

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