, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 25 – The National Assembly Speaker, Justin Muturi, has announced new security measures for members of the public wishing to access the precincts of Parliament following the Westgate Mall attack.
Speaking after a meeting of the House Business Committee held on Tuesday, Muturi said the new guidelines have been necessitated after members complained of laxity in the management of security in the precincts of Parliament.
According to the new arrangement that takes effect immediately, each member will be limited to a maximum of two visitors at any given time.
“No visitor will be left alone within the precincts of the House. All members should process their visitors, and escort them out of Parliament buildings when the deal is done,” Muturi noted.
Guests will have to register at the Parliament Building’s Public Gate and will have to be processed by the MP who has invited them to the House.
The Speaker further stated all vehicles entering the premises will be checked and no MP will be allowed to enter Parliament with a visitor on board.
The move comes after Nairobi Senator, Mike Sonko, sensationally claimed on the floor of the Senate, that he assisted two women to offer information to police and intelligence agencies on Al-Shaabab militiamen who were targeting key installations including the Senate and National Assembly.
“They mentioned Westgate Mall, Village Market, Parliament and Kenyatta International Conference Centre (where the Senate is temporarily conducting its sittings) as their target,” claimed Sonko.
The concern was equally expressed in the National Assembly, where some MPs who contributed after the House suspended business to pay tribute to the victims of the terrorist attack expressed concern over the laxity with which the security agencies handle security around Parliament.
“Mr Speaker this attack should serve as wake up call…we need to ensure that Parliament is well protected, In fact we should have a perimetre wall with an electric fence around the National Assembly. I have seen there is a lapse in security because this is an attractive target,” said Leader of the Minority Coalition, Francis Nyenze.
“This attack happened on Saturday, on Sunday when you came here, you were thoroughly frisked and they would not open the gates until your car was screened. But this changed on Monday and today, things went back to normal….Mr Speaker we must have consistency,” said Nairobi County Woman Representative, Rachael Shebesh.
Her Wajir County counterpart, Fatuma Ali lamented that such attacks were rampant in her region, but blamed laxity among the authorities in forestalling the threats.
“We need to abolish the National Security Intelligence Service. I think we should arrest some of them. If I was the President, the Director General would be in Kamiti Maximum Security Prison now,” said Ibrahim.
“If we continue like this, Mr Speaker Parliament will be next.”