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The Way Forward in Enhancing Energy Justice in Kenya



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

The most pressing energy justice concerns in Kenya at the moment include limited access to energy, high energy costs, lack of transparency, accountability and public participation in energy governance and limited adoption of renewable energy across the country. These are discussed in detail here below along with proposals for the way forward in addressing them in enhancing energy justice in Kenya.

Promoting Access to Energy

It has been reported that Kenya has witnessed one of the fastest growth in electrification within Sub-Saharan Africa with 75% of the population having access to electricity by the year 2018. The National Electrification Strategy is geared towards achieving universal electricity access to all households and businesses by the year 2022. The country has also been hailed for making notable progress in deploying renewable sources of energy. However, while the country has made great strides towards electrification, there exists a wide disparity in electrification between urban and rural areas with 84% of the population in rural areas not having electricity connection. Further, it has been reported that a household in Nairobi is 36 times more likely to have electricity than a household in Turkana or Tana River Counties. Such disparity in access to energy creates energy justice concerns with the poor and rural areas being the most affected. With the essential importance of energy as human need, it is necessary to ensure equity and fairness in respect to energy access.

In addition, household energy needs entail two components, namely, access to clean cooking facilities and access to electricity. While Kenya has made notable progress towards enhancing access to electricity through measures such as the rural electrification programme, progress remains slow in promoting clean cooking facilities. Bio-energy sources such as charcoal, wood fuel and dung remain the most common source of energy in Kenya especially among the rural population. However, use of these sources is associated with environmental challenges such as air and soil pollution and environmental degradation through deforestation. Further, it is estimated that almost 500, 000 premature deaths per year in Africa are related to household air pollution from the lack of access to clean cooking facilities, with women and children the worst affected.

There is thus an urgent need to enhance access to clean cooking facilities in Kenya. Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) has been promoted as an alternative but its use is largely concentrated in urban areas due to its associated costs. Under the Energy Act, the government is mandated to facilitate provision of affordable energy services to all persons in Kenya. Measures can be put in place to enhance access to clean energy sources such reducing the costs of LPG to promote its affordability. Further, costs related to electricity such as connection charges and billing costs should be made affordable for the benefit of all Kenyans especially those in rural areas.

The Need to Lower and Stabilize the Energy Costs

Energy costs relate to the expenses of being connected and equipped with energy sources and the cost of the energy used. Energy affordability remains a challenge in most sub-Saharan African Countries due to the high cost of power relative to income. Consequently, reports have shown that electricity prices in Kenya are higher than the global average at the rate of 0.224 U.S Dollar per kWh for households and 0.192 U.S Dollar for businesses against a global average of 0.15 U.S Dollar per kWh for households and 0.12 U.S Dollar for businesses. Other sources of energy such as kerosene are affected by international prices thus unpredictable and unreliable especially among the poor.

In addition to the ongoing activism which has seen the Government being dragged to court in an attempt to arrest the escalating energy, it is noted that recently the President committed to lower the cost of electricity by 30% before the Christmas holiday. This came after the report of the Presidential Taskforce to review Power Purchase Agreements to address concerns about the high cost of electricity. The John Ngumi led Taskforce made a raft of institutional and policy recommendations in reducing the cost of electricity which saw the President deploy a new Energy Minister to oversee their implementation. There is no question the proposals to lower the cost of electricity and energy in general will have a ripple effect on other sectors given the role of energy in production.

The use of litigation to tackle the energy cost has also seen Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) and individual litigants sue the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) and other Government agencies to compel them to lower the rising cost of fuel. The high and many taxes imposed on electricity and fuels in Kenya have been identified as major reason for the high cost of energy. Recently, the High Court also gave a judgment allowing a 300MW Wind Power Plant in Marsabit after 10 years delays which is likely to lower the cost of power to proceed after undue delays. The Government has also launched a number of projects to subsidize modern and efficient household energy sources although many have met little success and more needs to be done.

Promoting Transparency and Accountability in Energy Governance

The country has in recent past witnesses several scandals in the energy sector that have threatened to derail progress towards energy efficiency and security in the country with key players being hit with numerous fraud allegations. Further, the botched Mwananchi Gas Project by the Ministry of Petroleum that was aimed at providing LPG cylinders to Kenyans at subsidized costs saw taxpayers lose more than Kenya Shillings 870 million due to shortcomings in its implementations. Effective implementation of such a plan would have been crucial in enhancing access to clean cooking facilities in the country. Such scandals have contributed to energy injustices in the country since they hinder the ability of citizens to access reliable and affordable energy services.

There is need to strengthen accountability mechanisms in the energy sector and ensure that the perpetrators of such acts are held accountable for their misdeeds. Energy Service providers such as Kenya Power should also be transparent in their affairs and ensure that citizens are aware of their obligations and are billed according to the services they consume. The Energy Act mandates the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to appoint a public prosecutor for purposes of prosecuting offences under the Energy Act. This is an important step in ensuring prosecution of perpetrators of energy injustices in the country with a view of promoting energy justice.

Promoting Renewable Sources of Energy

The Energy Act defines renewable energy as ‘non-fossil energy generated from natural non-depleting resources including but not limited to solar energy, wind energy, biomass energy, biological waste energy, hydro energy, geothermal energy and ocean and tidal energy.’ Renewable energy has been hailed for its advantages which include ensuring the security of energy supply. Energy security is an essential component of energy justice since it guarantees availability of energy necessary to fulfil basic human needs.

The Energy Act establishes the Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Corporation whose functions include inter alia to develop, promote and manage in collaboration with other agencies, the use of renewable energy and technologies, including but not limited to biomass (biodiesel, bio-ethanol, charcoal, fuel-wood, biogas) municipal waste, solar, wind, tidal waves, small hydropower and co-generation but excluding geothermal. The Corporation needs to further its efforts in promoting renewable sources of energy apart from biomass which still remains the most common source of energy in Kenya. This will be vital in promoting energy security which is an important element of energy justice.

*This is article is an extract from an article by Dr. Kariuki Muigua, PhDMuigua, 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. 



Achuka. V., ‘How Kenya Power Staff Stole Millions in Bills Scandal’ Daily Nation, Tuesday, December 24, 2019.

Azzuni. A., and Breyer. C., ‘Definitions and Dimensions of Energy Security: A Literature Review’ available at (Accessed on 24/01/2020).

International Energy Agency, ‘Africa Energy Outlook 2019’ available at /download/direct/2892?fileName=Africa_Energy_Outlook_2019.pdf Accessed on (21/01/2020).

Moner-Girona. M et al, ‘Decentralized Rural Electrification in Kenya: Speeding Up Universal Energy Access’ Energy for Sustainable Development, Volume 52, October 2019, p 128-146.

Muchiri. L., ‘Gender and Equity in Bioenergy Access and Delivery in Kenya’ Practical Action East Africa, 2018, Available at: Kenya-Gender.pdf (accessed on 23/11/2021).

Mutai. E, ‘Taxpayers Lose Sh870 Million in Botched Cooking Gas Subsidy Plan’ Business Daily, Monday, July 8, 2019.

Mutinda, F., ‘Government Ordered to Accept 300MW Wind Power Project,’ Business Today, Thursday, November 18, 2021, Available at: (accessed on 23/11/2021).

Nizic. M.K., ‘The Advantages and Disadvantages of Renewable Energy in the Tourist Destination’ Conference Paper, available at _The_Advant ages _and_Disadvantages_of_Renewable_Energy_in_the_Tourist_Destination/link/ 59ef0c1c4585152 de64db7cc/download (Accessed on 24/01/2020).

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

World Health Organization, ‘Opportunities for Transition to Clean Household Energy in Kenya: Application of the WHO Household Energy Assessment Rapid Tool (HEART)’ available at bitstream/handle/10665/311281/9789241514989-eng.pdf (Accessed on 23/01/2020)

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Why is THE LAWYER AFRICA Listing Top Law Firms and Top Lawyers?




The Litigation Hall of Fame | Kenya in 2023 (The Most Distinguished 50 Litigation Lawyers in Kenya).

We live in the age of information overload where too much information (TMI) is increasingly making it difficult to find actionable legal data about a good law firm or lawyer. At the same time, legal services are increasingly going digital and finding your next lawyer is a now a matter of a few clicks. Many existing, new and potential clients are interested to know more about the lawyer handling or likely to handle their next case or transaction as every HR Manager seeks to know how their In-house Lawyer or next hire compares to peers.

The biggest dilemma especially for commercial consumers of legal services  is where to begin the journey in finding the law firm or the lawyer to meet their immediate legal need created by their new venture,  business, transaction or dispute. In-house counsel are also called upon to justify opting for one lawyer or law firm or over the other.  Hence, the rise in the popularity of international law directories rankings as an attempt to fill the yawning gap by listing a few dozen lawyers and law firms in esoteric categories that often don’t align with the legal needs of the domestic legal market.

But ranking two dozen elite lawyers or big law firms in a big jurisdiction like Kenya there are over 20,000 lawyers is merely a drop in the ocean. The result is the same candidates are listed year after year and an In-house Legal Team looking to infuse new blood in their external counsel panel is left very little discretion. At best, International legal ranking only succeed to tilt the scales in favour of few big firms and their lawyers and to aid the choice of International Legal buyers who are constrained for time in picking their External Counsel in jurisdictions where they cannot find referrals.

The questions that beg are: What about the other top law firms and lawyers who are equally good if not better but don’t have the time to fill the technical paperwork that comes with International Legal Directories rankings? What about Domestic Legal Buyers who simply want to justify why they prefer a lawyer or law firm not listed in the International Directory? Can increasing the number of listed lawyers or law firms from less 0.1% of the profession (as captured by International Law Directories) to at least 1% of the profession or higher for those specializing in the practice area help in enhancing access to justice in Africa? Can ranking law firms by number of fee earners help in the quest for a more accurate bird’s eye view of a country’s legal landscape?

At THE LAWYER AFRICA, we have set out to list Top Law Firms and Top Lawyers in the various practice areas in a way that democratizes law rankings and listings and brings this essential value add within reach of most lawyers and every law firms doing top legal work. We don’t promise to list all the top lawyers or law firms, but we commit to make sure every lawyer or law firm we list is at the top of the game in the listed practice area. We aim to help both little known and already known law firms and lawyers doing top legal work in their area of specialization get discovered by discerning clients and possibly get more opportunities to do great work.

THE LAWYER AFRICA is looking to list up to Top 200 Law Firms in every African Jurisdiction based on their reputation and number of fee earners headcount with a goal of listing at least Africa’s Top 1,000 Law Firms which are leaders in their respective countries. We also seek to list up to Top 1,000 Lawyers in every country in Africa in at least five main practice areas, namely, Litigation, Commercial Law, Property law, In-house and Private Sector or more.

THE LAWYER AFRICA categorizes law firms in large jurisdictions as Top 5, Top 10, Top 20, Top 50 and Top 100 (and allow tying where number of counsel is equal). The Top Lawyers are listed in three categories, namely, Hall of Fame (the Distinguished Top 50 or 75 Practitioners in a Practice Area), Top 100 (the Leading Top 100 Practitioners in a Practice Area) and Up-and-Coming (the promising Top 50 or 75 Practitioners in a Practice Area).  The placing of a listings depends on a number of key factors including the number of key matters or transactions handled, years in practice and experience, size of team working under a counsel, reputation and opinion of peers (where available) as established by THE LAWYER AFRICA.

THE LAWYER AFRICA prefers to list a counsel in only one listing, as far as possible. The Team tries (as far as possible) not to contact listed law firms or lawyers before the listing is finalized in the first. However, a listed law firm or lawyer may be contacted at the pre-launch stage of a list for purposes of selling merchandise relating to the launch but such engagement will not affect the listing. In case of future listings, it is expected that interested lawyers or law firms who feel they were previously left out of the list may to provide information for consideration to determine if they qualify for the next listing but that will not guarantee any listing.

THE LAWYER AFRICA undertakes not to charge for listing any lawyer or law firm. However, upon publication of a listing, as part of recovering the sunk costs we incur in the research and publication of the listings, we shall charge a token for printing and shipping of Quality A3 Certificate for listed Law Firms and/or A4 Certificate for listed Lawyers who wish to have or display the branded souvenirs or to use our proprietary digital materials in their business  branding. We may also charge listed and unlisted law firms and lawyers an affordable fee for limited banner advertising or publishing of enhanced profiles next to the listings.

For any question or feedback on any list or listing, feel free to contact THE LAWYER AFRICA PUBLISHER at info[at]thelawyer[dot]africa.

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The Roles of the Three Parts of the Permanent Court of Arbitration




H.E. Amb. Marcin Czepelak, the Fourteenth Secretary-General of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA)

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News & Analysis

Brief History of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA)




By Dr. Kariuki Muigua, PhD, C.Arb, Current Member of Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) Representing the Republic of Kenya.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) is a 124 Years Old Intergovernmental Organization currently with 122 contracting states. It was established at the turn of 20th Century during the first Hague Peace Conference held between 18th May and 29th July 1899. The conference was an initiative of then Russian Czar Nicholas II to discuss peace and disarmament and specifically with the object of “seeking the most effective means of ensuring to all peoples the benefits of a real and lasting peace, and, above all, of limiting the progressive development of existing armaments.” The culmination of the conference was the adoption of a Convention on the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes, which dealt not only with arbitration but also with other methods of pacific settlement, such as good offices and mediation.

The aim of the conference was to “strengthen systems of international dispute resolution” especially international arbitration which in the last century had proven effective for the purpose with number of successful international arbitrations being concluded among Nations. The Alabama arbitration of 1871-1872 between the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States (US) under the Treaty of Washington of 1871 culminating in the arbitral tribunal’s award that the UK pay the US compensation for breach of neutrality during American Civil War which it did had demonstrated the effectiveness of arbitration in settling of international disputes and piqued interest of many practitioners in it as a mode of dispute resolution during the latter years of the nineteenth century.

The Institut de Droit International adopted a code of procedure for arbitration in 1875 to answer the need for a general law of arbitration governing for countries and parties wishing to have recourse to international arbitration. The growth of arbitration as a mode of international dispute resolution formed the background of the 1899 conference and informed its most enduring achievement, namely, the establishment of the PCA as the first global mechanism for the settlement of disputes between states. Article 16 of the 1899 Convention recognized that “in questions of a legal nature, and especially in the interpretation or application of International Conventions” arbitration is the “most effective, and at the same time the most equitable, means of settling disputes which diplomacy has failed to settle.”

In turn, the 1899 Convention provided for the creation of permanent machinery to enable the setting up of arbitral tribunals as necessary and to facilitate their work under the auspices of the institution it named as the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA). In particular, Article 20 of the 1899 Convention stated that “[w]ith the object of facilitating an immediate recourse to arbitration for international differences which it has not been possible to settle by diplomacy, the signatory Powers undertake to organize a Permanent Court of Arbitration, accessible at all times and operating, unless otherwise stipulated by the parties, in accordance with the rules of procedure inserted in the present Convention.” In effect, the Convention set up a permanent system of international arbitration and institutionalized the law and practice of arbitration in a definite and acceptable way.

As a result, the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) was established in 1900 and began operating in 1902. The PCA as established consisted of a panel of jurists designated by each country acceding to the Convention with each country being entitled to designate up to four from among whom the members of each arbitral tribunal might be chosen. In addition, the Convention created a permanent Bureau, located in The Hague, with functions similar to those of a court registry or secretariat. The 1899 Convention also laid down a set of rules of procedure to govern the conduct of arbitrations under the PCA framework.

The second Hague Peace Conference in 1907 saw a revision of the 1899 Convention and improvement of the rules governing arbitral proceedings. Today, the PCA has developed into a modern, multi-faceted arbitral institution perfectly situated to meet the evolving dispute resolution needs of the international community. The Permanent Court of Arbitration has also diversified its service offering alongside those contemplated by the Conventions. For instance, today the International Bureau of the Permanent Court of Arbitration serves as a registry in important international arbitrations. In 1993, the Permanent Court of Arbitration adopted new “Optional Rules for Arbitrating Disputes between Two Parties of Which Only One Is a State” and, in 2001, “Optional Rules for Arbitration of Disputes Relating to Natural Resources and/or the Environment”.


PCA Website: (accessed on 25th May 2023).

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