10 reasons why the Security Laws (Amendment) Bill is dangerous:

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BY RAILA ODINGA

1. It takes away the right to assemble, demonstrate, picket and present petitions to public authorities. By giving the Cabinet secretary power to decide where and when people can assemble, demonstrate, picket and present petitions, trade union activity can now be neutralised, political activity can be controlled and government will become dictatorial.

2. It introduces a new type of law that makes people responsible for the actions of others. This is what they mean when they say a person convicted of convening a rally, meeting or procession will be made liable for any loss suffered. Trade unions will now be liable to companies for economic loses resulting from strikes or to the government for causing traffic jams.

3. It takes away the power to declare curfew from the Inspector General of Police to Cabinet Secretary. The decision to impose curfew will now not be made based on a professional security risk assessment but on the political grounds since the Inspector General has roles placed on him by the constitution but the Cabinet secretary has none.

4. It restricts the right of the people to receive information if that information is considered obscene, gory or offensive. The Act does not define what is “obscene”, “gory”, or “offensive” and this will now depend on the police. The Constitution has already stated what information is forbidden and the amendment is trying to add more restrictions.

5. It takes away the right of an accused person to be told what evidence the prosecution has. It is a basic right for an accused person that he must be informed what evidence will be used against him before the trial. We saw at the International Criminal Court at The Hague our President complaining that Prosecution was withholding evidence. He now must uphold for Kenyans the rights he was demanding when he was himself an accused person.

6. It requires an accused person to disclose his witnesses and evidence to the Police. It is another basic right for the accused that he cannot be compelled to disclose anything to the prosecution. We also saw our president protest very strongly at the ICC when the prosecution applied to Kenya to give the prosecution information. The president must also respect the same rights for the rest of Kenyans.

7. It institutionalises the military into our civilian institutions by putting them in the Firearms Licensing Board and Inter-agency security advisory committee. One great tradition of Kenya is that we keep our military out of civilian affairs. It is one of the reasons we remained stable when other Africa countries experienced military coups. Even today, countries that allowed the military into civilian affairs are the most unstable in Africa including Egypt, Nigeria, Uganda, North and South Sudan. Civilian authorities need to be replaced using civilian methods while military can only be removed by military.

8. It gives the right to any police officer to obtain information from landlords about tenants even without requiring the existence of an investigation against the tenant and suspend your driving licence. We know our police men and we know that allowing them to check on landlords is only opening up a new plantation for them to harvest where they did not sow. Susension of driving licenses is also a new cash cow for the police. All public service vehicle drivers and owners can expect the worst when police acquire this power.

9. It brings back to Kenya the dreaded special branch in a more lethal formation. The NIS now has power to enter and search premises and to take away any property that they want without having to get a warrant from court or being accountable to anyone. The decision is entirely that of the NIS officer.

10. It limits the right of the media to give true and accurate information. The restrictions on media under the proposed law would have made the entire media coverage of Westgate attack illegal. We would only have known what the Police wanted us to know. The coverage of Mandera attacks would also have been illegal.

(Odinga is the CORD leader)

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  • simon

    (1) A right or fundamental freedom in the Bill of Rights shall not
    be limited except by law, and then only to the extent that the
    limitation is reasonable and justifiable in an open and democratic
    society based on human dignity, equality and freedom, taking into
    account all
    relevant factors, including—

    (d) the need to
    ensure that the enjoyment of rights and fundamental freedoms by any
    individual does not prejudice the rights and fundamental freedoms of
    others

    3. It takes away the power to declare curfew from the
    Inspector General of Police to Cabinet Secretary. The decision to impose
    curfew will now not be made based on a professional security risk
    assessment but on the political grounds since the Inspector General has
    roles placed on him by the constitution but the Cabinet secretary has
    none

    In no part of the act has that been pointed out. Which security laws amendment act are they reading?

    4. It restricts the right of the people to receive information if
    that information is considered obscene, gory or offensive. The Act does
    not define what is “obscene”, “gory”, or “offensive” and this will now
    depend on the police. The Constitution has already stated what
    information is forbidden and the amendment is trying to add more
    restrictions.

    (From the Penal code)

    66. Alarming publications
    (1) Any person who publishes any false statement, rumour or report
    which is likely to cause fear and alarm to the public or to disturb the public
    peace is guilty of a misdemeanour.
    (2) It shall be a defence to a charge under subsection (1) if the
    accused
    proves that, prior to publication, he took such measures to verify the
    accuracy of the statement, rumour or report as to lead him reasonably to
    believe that it was true.

    New amendment:

    66A. A person who publishes or causes to be published or distributed obscene, gory or
    offensive
    material which is likely to cause fear and alarm to the general public
    or disturb public peace is guilty of a felony and is liable, upon
    conviction, to a fine not exceeding one million shillings or
    imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or both, or, where the
    offence is committed by a media enterprise, to a fine not exceeding
    five million shillings.

    All that has changed is the statement of fines, remember the penal
    code and its rulings can only be administered by the Judiciary.

    5. It takes away the right of an accused person to be told what evidence the
    prosecution has. It is a basic right for an accused person that he must be
    informed what evidence will be used against him before the trial. We saw at the
    International Criminal Court at The Hague our President complaining that
    Prosecution was withholding evidence. He now must uphold for Kenyans the rights
    he was demanding when he was himself an accused person.

    The
    rights of an accused person are upheld by the constitution, in no way
    can this change unless as given in section 24 of the bill of rights.

    6.
    It requires an accused person to disclose his witnesses and
    evidence to the Police. It is another basic right for the accused that
    he cannot be compelled to disclose anything to the prosecution. We also
    saw our president protest very strongly at the ICC when the prosecution
    applied to Kenya to give the prosecution information. The president must
    also respect the same rights for the rest of Kenyans

    In a court
    of law, the prosecution gives its evidence to the defense to prepare a
    reply, and vice versa. Correct me if I am wrong.

    7. It
    institutionalises the military into our civilian institutions by putting
    them in the Firearms Licensing Board and Inter-agency security advisory
    committee. One great tradition of Kenya is that we keep our military
    out of civilian affairs. It is one of the reasons we remained stable
    when other Africa countries experienced military coups. Even today,
    countries that allowed the military into civilian affairs are the most
    unstable in Africa including Egypt, Nigeria, Uganda, North and South
    Sudan. Civilian authorities need to be
    replaced using civilian methods while military can only be removed by military.

    In
    most instances, the insecurity situations that have occurred in the
    country have necessitated the mobilization of the military to supplement
    the local law enforcement, with
    lasting results (SLDF in Mt. Elgon, Kapedo in Baringo, Lamu, Tana River). The bill
    also
    spells out the types of weapons which if one is captured with is
    considered a terrorist. The firearms licensing board is integral to the
    same, as it will have the role of identifying some of these weapons. The
    military is also known to be well equipped as compared to the police
    service, if not incorporated to give guidance and specialized training
    for the different
    scenarios faced in security hotspots then ordinary Kenyans are the ones who suffer.

    8.
    It gives the right to any police officer to obtain information
    from landlords about tenants even without requiring the existence of an
    investigation against the tenant and suspend your driving licence. We
    know our police men and we know that allowing them to check on
    landlords
    is only opening up a new plantation for them to harvest where they did
    not sow. Susension of driving licenses is also a new cash cow for the
    police. All public service vehicle drivers and owners can expect the
    worst when police acquire this power.

    The only person who can
    be afraid of the same is a criminal (in the case of landlords issuing
    details of their tenants. Many terrorists are known to lease/rent
    premises from where they get to stage their attacks. In the case of
    suspension of a driving license,
    the LSK should be ready to defend those who believe they are innocent. It is
    common knowledge that policemen fear lawyers, why doesn’t the do something for
    the ordinary Kenyans?

    9. It brings back to Kenya the dreaded special branch in a more lethal formation. The
    NIS now has power to enter and search premises and to take away any property
    that they want without having to get a warrant from court or being accountable
    to anyone. The decision is entirely that of the NIS officer.

    I
    repeat, the only person who can be afraid of the same is a criminal or
    has ulterior motives. The act gives the following amendment:

    6A. (1) An officer of the Service may stop and detain any person whom
    the officer—

    (a) witnesses engaging in a serious offence;

    (b) finds in possession of any object or material that could be
    used for the commission of a serious offence; or

    (c) suspects of engaging in any act or thing or being in
    possession of anything which poses a threat to national security.

    As previously, none of
    the claims can be justified.

    10.
    It limits the right of the media to give true
    and accurate information. The restrictions on media under the proposed law
    would have made the entire media coverage of Westgate attack illegal. We would
    only have known what the Police wanted us to know. The coverage of Mandera
    attacks would also have been illegal.

    The amendment:

    30F. (1) Any person who, without authorization from the National Police Service, broadcasts
    any
    information which undermines investigations or security operations
    relating to TERRORISM commits an offence and is liable on conviction to
    a term of imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or to a
    fine not exceeding five million shillings, or both.

    The media has rarely given true and accurate information in
    matters security relating to TERRORISM.

    (2) A person who publishes or broadcasts photographs of victims of a TERRORIST attack
    without
    the consent of the National Police Service and of the victim commits an
    offence and is liable on conviction to a term of imprisonment for a
    period not exceed three years or to a fine of five million shillings, or
    both.

    No more images of victims of the attacks being published on
    national newspapers to make a killing via sales.

    (3) Notwithstanding subsection (2) any person may publish or
    broadcast factual information of a general nature to the public.

    Not half-baked analysis, factual analysis.

    Views are welcome, but read and re-read the laws and understand
    them to YOUR benefit, and help you help Kenya secure its borders.

    • STEPHEN KHISA

      Its very unwise to suggest that opposition or any other person can offer solution to national problems given such political atmosphere we are in in this dispensation.On what space will one deliver their sentiment or thoughts.

  • JOSPHAT MUKUNA

    With every issue in Kenya being looked at from an ethnic angle, a leader can do anything if he has the numbers in parliament.Peaple who never attended National Celebrations, now throng the stadiums in Nairobi, while others from different tribes keep off.
    Let us go to the High Court then Supreme Court for interpretations if the laws are passed.

    There is no leader fighting ethnicity as they thrive on the same.There alleged fights are mere cosmetic. They should encourage our dons to publish papers in the press on the cancer that is tribalism, starting from its growth in the Kenyatta years up to now.

    • Jongere

      Well tribe we shall have but bad shall we not use them.Who should encourage academic papers on tribalism? That negates the 1st part of your contribution.

  • Qwani

    Babu, once again you prove to be completely out of touch with the mood of the people. Number one at the top of most people’s demands is improved security.
    If it means bringing in the KDF, so be it.
    You are the one who demanded to have the county commissioners together with the chiefs removed from the counties and yet you offer no alternative.
    You dismissed the nyumba kumi initiative and again offer no alternative.
    Your philosophy is one of opposing just for the sake of opposing and complaining just for the sake of complaining.
    You offer no solution whatsoever but nevertheless request or is it demand to have an audience with the President so as to share with him some of your brilliant ideas???
    If you wish to display your brilliant leadership, I suggest you begin with sorting out that mess in ODM, especially with regards to the Homa Bay by-election!!!

    • Thinker

      Qwani, I read your comment and couldn’t help but sense your tribalism. The police have not been reformed yet the President wants to give those corrupt people more powers. You will be a victim of the law very soon and I wonder who you are going to blame. Your tribe will not be around to help you when your son, niece, nephew falls victim to these animals and the media cannot report about it because of the new law.

      • Qwani

        Thinker, you are one person who talks with ignorance in abundance. Unlike anywhere else in the world, we have two parallel police units, the administration police and the national police. Yet you believe it is functioning imperfectly due to not implementing reforms??
        You are most likely one of those who were screaming for the President to sack Kimaiyo and yet he didn’t have the legal powers to do so. Now that those laws are being prepared, you have quickly changed tune.
        One piece of free advice for you. Try to think for yourself instead of waiting for your political leaders to think for you. Resorting to the “tribalism card” when you can’t debate is very weak!!

        • Thinker

          No, actually you wear the ignorance tag. I think for myself, that is why I don’t let people who are guided by tribalism ,like you, make hateful comments without considering the facts presented. You simply dismissed the opposition leader without giving any reasons why you think he is wrong. You are probably one of those people who support the president no matter what he does. You probably will support him when he turns this country into a police state and imposes martial law. Uhuru is a human being and human beings make mistakes. When he makes mistakes he should be corrected. Him being a president does not mean he is god; so get over yourself for once and admit he is making a mistake with this law. The police are still taking bribes and arresting and exhorting money from people in the streets of Nairobi, yet you think the president should give them more power. We and people who love this country will not let Kenya turn into a police state. Ati playing the tribalism card!!!Please nkt

          • Qwani

            Think I little harder. The majority of the people including myself consider security to be the number one priority right now in our country Kenya. The moment Uhuru fails to see that is the day he loses my support.
            You dear leader is on record for dismissing the nyumba kumi initiative.
            He is on record for demanding to have the county commissioners sent home.
            Cord have said the security bill should be dismissed in its totality. My question is where is the alternative.
            These are factual statements coming from your leader. Ever complaining but never providing any alternative solution whatsoever. Try to put tribalism aside and try to analyse facts and think for yourself.

          • Thinker

            Qwani stop projecting your tribalism on me please…I have relatives and friends who belong to the president’s tribe and I work in the president’s strongholds. So just stop mirroring your own tribalism on me. There are some good ideas and some bad ideas in Uhuru’s proposals. Cord to my knowledge is comprised of people from different tribes from all over the country, so do not put me in a tribal box, because I won’t let you. There is no such thing as a superior tribe-that is something the elitist wazungus brought to this nation. I agree that security is the number one priority but I am not sold to the idea of giving our corrupt police the power to listen to our private phone conversations. To me most Kenyan police officers are corrupt, immature extortionists no matter what tribe they belong to. Do you think the police are capable of handling all these new powers responsibly? Be honest.

          • Qwani

            The disease of your leader is very contagious. Yes, the police are corrupt. So what alternative do you suggest?? Who should take over the policing responsibility?? For your information, the government is probably listening to your private conversations. Most governments including those in the free world are already listening to their citizens’ private conversation in an attempt to track down terrorists.
            If indeed you call yourself a thinker, try to start by thinking for yourself and not clinging onto the rubbish your leader feeds you.
            Stop complaining and start providing solutions!!!

          • Thinker

            OMG you are hopelessly stupid. The way you rationalize phone tapping is pathetic and believe me I am not surprised. So because some governments are listening to their citizen’s conversations our government should do the same? Its like saying that since some men rape and strip women in Githurai all men in Kenya should do the same. Raila is not my leader lol…I am my own leader and I think for myself unlike you who injects tribal attitudes in any conversation. Why do you want me to offer solutions when you and your leader’s supporters are hopelessly stupid. Bye have a stupid moment with somebody else. I give up on you.

          • Qwani

            That is exactly my point. When the opposition are called to offer solutions they say it is not their responsibility. That is why I say it is contagious on your part.
            Offer alternatives and solutions if indeed you think you can think for yourself as a thinker.
            While you are at it, educate yourself on some of the literature released by Edward Snowden. You appear to be wallowing in ignorance.

          • Jongere

            What is the government doing when they callopposition to offer solutions. Are you deaf or blind? It would be unwise for the opposition to cook for the day to eat. I remeber the opposition and other stakeholders asked Uhuru´s leadership to sit and discus the Security matters and even the President to ask Ole Lenku and Kimaiyo immediately after Westgate attack to resign but nothing was done.

          • Jongere

            Adi Snowden is not a scholar. He has no good literature but exposes filth in the governance which your DemiGods want to curtail. The opposition should stayput and offer no solution and pinpoint anything that is wrong. The govt. of Kamwana should expect to go with their begging bowl empty. The opposition offered dialogue but the deep-sitted ego thwarted that. in 2017 the card would be mixed a fresh. It does not matter how much you demonise. I do not support your enemy Raila but if I am to vote then I know what I will do.

          • Jongere

            But failed to act for a very long time. The opposition the world over incl. yout Mt. Kenya is there to keep the Govt. in check. The modus operandi notwithstanding. They can oppose and oppose pinpointing reasons for that.
            Even your grandfather would reject NYAMBA TISA.

    • jatello

      you are an idiot mind ur own business

  • sau makael

    Founders of Commonwealth league always seems to influence the presidency operations so much because they benefits more than the Kenyan citizens. With commonwealth league and its operatives with us true democracy is a pipe dream.

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