In Summary
  • A glaring weakness is the assumption that civil liberties are the obstacle in the fight against terrorism, rather than the failure to enforce laws caused by corruption and incompetence in the security agencies.
  • Journalists and the media will also need police authority to broadcast or publish “any information which undermines investigations or security operations relating to terrorism”.
  • It is understood that the plan is to return the Bill for the Second Reading  and the Third Reading — the last stage —on the date the National Assembly holds a special sitting to consider the report on the vetting of retired Major-General Joseph Nkaissery, the nominee for Interior Cabinet Secretary.

Parliament was Tuesday asked to change security laws in ways which limit the rights of citizens protected in the Constitution.

The Security Laws (Amendment) Bill is intended to empower the government and security agencies to fight terrorism.

It is a response to the slaughter of 64 people by Al-Shabaab in the past two weeks and the increasing radicalisation of youths by jihadists at the Coast and elsewhere. The government has had to close mosques in Mombasa, which were allegedly being used to teach jihad.

The good parts of the Bill protect places of worship from being used as training grounds for terrorists, criminalise the preaching of extreme religious ideas and seek to punish those intending to be trained as terrorists out of the country.

A glaring weakness is the assumption that civil liberties are the obstacle in the fight against terrorism, rather than the failure to enforce laws caused by corruption and incompetence in the security agencies.

But some parts of the Bill smack of the US Patriot Act which presumes that terrorism is best fought by creating a near-police state in which civil liberties are subordinate to the government’s quest for state security.

Daily Nation