NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 19 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has defended his decision to sign into the law the Security Laws (Amendment) Bill that brought Members of Parliament to blows on Thursday.
President Kenyatta said he was satisfied that with the amendments passed by the National Assembly, no provisions of the Bill of Rights were violated by the new law.
“All concerns raised by the different stakeholders were addressed by the relevant parliamentary committees,” he said.
He has therefore called on all Kenyans to read the new law and ascertain this for themselves.
“It’s intent is one… just one; to protect the lives and property of all the citizens of this republic,” he said.
President Kenyatta described the conduct of MPs opposed to the law as, “deplorable,” accusing them of, “being oblivious to the threat that is upon our country at this point in time.”
He however congratulated the National Assembly members allied to him for, “having the presence of mind,” to pass the bill.
Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) legislators have pledged to move to court over the legislation terming it, “draconian.”
They had also demanded that it go through the Senate before being sent to the President for assent.
The Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution (CIC) which had raised concerns over the original bill is yet to take a stand on the new law, saying they were not privy to the amendments made.
“In a conversation with the Solicitor General he told me CIC’s recommendations had been incorporated. But as you can appreciate, I was unable to substantively follow the proceedings in Parliament,” CIC Chair Charles Nyachae told Capital FM News on Friday afternoon.
Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International had also called on MPs not to pass the original bill as it infringed on the Bill of Rights.
They took issue with sections which they said interfered with the freedom of expression and association.
In his Jamhuri Day address, President Kenyatta said the CIC had opposed certain sections of the then proposed security law and said the necessary amendments would be made.