In the 1980s the Kenyan economy started to move away from a price control regime with significant state intervention towards a market economy. The Government recognized the need to introduce a competition law and the Restrictive Trade Practices, Monopolies and Price Control Act which came into force in 1989. The Act provided for the control of restrictive trade practices, collusive tendering, monopolies and concentrations of economic power and for the control of mergers and takeovers (as well as price control measures, which were no longer under use). There was no reference to abuse of a dominant position. The Monopolies and Price Control ACT had a wide-ranging exemption that excluded regulated sectors of the economy from the scope of the competition law.
The investigation of possible contraventions of the Act was the responsibility of the Monopolies and Prices Commission, which was under the Ministry of Finance. Decisions on particular cases were taken to the Minister. Decisions of the latter could be appealed to the Restrictive Trade Practices Tribunal and from there to the High Court.
The Monopolies and Price Control Act however had many gaps and there was need to review it and come up with a modern Competition Law which would also have consumer protection provisions. In this regard, the Kenya’s Parliament in late 2009 approved the Competition Law Bill to repeal the Restrictive Trade Practices Monopolies and Price Control Act of 1989.
Under the Competition Act Cap 504 Laws of Kenya (2010), the Competition Authority of Kenya was established replacing the Monopolies and Price Commission Department and the Competition Tribunal was established under Section VI of the Competition Act replacing the Restrictive Trade Practices Tribunal. The Competition Act Cap 504 Laws of Kenya under part V has consumer protection provisions aimed at ensuring consumer welfare. This was in line with new developments at the Common Market For Eastern and Southern Africa(COMESA) and the East Africa Community(EAC) where new regional competition laws protect consumers.