BY H.E UHURU KENYATTA
Fellow Kenyans ,
1. A few minutes ago, I signed into law the Security Laws (Amendment) Bill 2014.
2. On the 22nd of November, 28 Kenyans were executed by terrorists. A week later, another 36 Kenyans were yet again massacred by terrorists. Following this, there was extensive consultation and reflection across the executive. I constituted a team to undertake a comprehensive review and I received their report within a week.
3. he review identified a number of gaps within our security laws as well as administrative challenges in our security sector. To address this, a draft bill was developed and subjected to extensive consultations through public participation, engagement with independent constitutional commissions and parliamentary processes that built consensus around the core areas of review. During this process, all the concerns raised by the different stakeholders were addressed by the relevant Parliamentary Committees through amendments.
4. I take this opportunity to thank the National Assembly for having the presence of mind, yesterday, to pass this bill despite deplorable conduct of a few individuals who seem oblivious to the threat that is upon our country at this point in time. As a result of this unfortunate incident, many Kenyans were denied the opportunity to follow the Parliamentary proceedings.
5. I therefore urge all Kenyans to take time to read and understand this law. I am confident that you will find that there is nothing in this law that goes against the Bill of Rights or any provision of the constitution. Its intent is one; to protect the lives and property of all citizens.
6. This law gives our security actors a firm institutional framework for coherent cooperation and synergy within the national counter-terrorism centre.
7. This synergy is cascaded from the highest to the lowest level through the national government security structures.
8. The law also deals with emerging crimes that reinforce terrorism, including the phenomena of foreign fighters, radicalization and transnational and cross-border crimes such as poaching and trafficking. Increasingly, these crimes are assuming a degree of sophistication that calls for a radical approach.
9. The law also improves our capacity to detect, deter and disrupt any threats to national security. For the first time, we now have a law that focuses on prevention and disruption of threats.
10. Further, the law allows for the use of technology in processing and advancing the ability for successful prosecution of suspects.
11. Cognizant of the lack of integrity and its role in accentuating vulnerability as well as compromising national security, this law sets a higher threshold for any public and state officer that is charged with the responsibility of protecting Kenya and its people.
12. In this regard, the law provides for heavy penalties for any transgression.
13.In addition to this raft of legal amendments, we have also commenced wide-scale administrative and operational reforms that align command and control, improve doctrine and modalities of work and improve operational effectiveness on the ground.
14. In conclusion, I call upon all Kenyans to bring their full weight to bear in giving effect to this law.
15. While we now have this important law, it is critical to appreciate that it is only one instrument among the many measures that we need to put in place in order to guarantee our security. We must all remember that we are still at war and vulnerable to terror attacks.
16. I therefore call upon each one of us to remain vigilant and share any information that would aid in securing our country with the relevant authorities.
17. May peace dwell within our borders during this festive season.
Thank you and God bless you.