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President Uhuru Kenyatta signs the security laws amendment bill 2014 | Coastweek

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- President Uhuru Kenyatta [centre] signs the security laws amendment bill 2014 in Nairobi. Uhuru Kenyatta emphasized that he was satisfied with the amendments passed by Kenya’s National Assembly, and that no provisions of the bill of rights were violated by the new laws. According to Uhuru Kenyatta, the new laws are aimed at protecting the lives and property of all Kenyan citizens. XINHUA PHOTO - FRED MUTUNE
President Uhuru Kenyatta signs security law to curb terror attacks

by Chrispinus Omar and Njoroge Kaburo NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday signed into law the new Security Amendment Act 2014 that is expected to enhance the fight against terrorists in the East African nation.

In a televised address to the nation, Kenyatta called on Kenyans to read the controversial law and familiarize with it to know their rights in securing the country, which faces increased terror attacks from Al-Shabaab militants.

Kenyatta expressed confidence that the new security law which will empower security networks did not violate the Bill of Rights in the Constitution as claimed by its critics.

"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," he said.

"All concerns raised by different stakeholders have been addressed by the relevant parliamentary committees," Kenyatta said after signing the Security Amendments Bill into law in Nairobi.

He emphasized that the new law, which was passed by Parliament amid commotion on Thursday, will not infringe on the Bill of Rights and the Constitution, and dismissed critics to it, saying that enough consultation and public participation took place before the Bill was presented to Parliament.

The Kenyan leader said the anti-terror law does not violate any other chapter of the constitution, but was intended to secure Kenyans against terrorism and other forms of crime.

He said the counter-terrorism law also gives security actors a firm institutional framework and synergy to fight terrorism and other emerging crimes such as radicalization of the youth, poaching and trafficking, which he says calls for improved capacity by the government.

The President said the new law improves the capacity of the security agencies to detect, deter and disrupt threats to national security.

"For the first time, we now have a law that focuses on prevention and disruption of threats.

"Further, the law allows for the use of technology in processing and advancing the ability for successful prosecution of suspects," he said.

The president urged Kenyans to remain vigilant and cooperate with authorities by liaising with the security apparatus in securing the nation.

He said Kenyans should support the government’s efforts in addressing insecurity through the implementation of the law, noting that the country is still vulnerable to terror attacks.

"This synergy is cascaded from the highest level to the lowest level through the national government security structures," he said.

The President said the law also raises the threshold for public and state officers who are charged with the responsibility of protecting Kenya and its people, as it provides for heavy penalties for any transgression

"The raised threshold was necessary because of the lack of integrity and its role in compromising national security," he added.

Kenyatta defended the new legislation, which, he said, will address the administrative loopholes that have furthered terror activities, adding that security organs are being restructured and penalties for those who contribute to terrorism stipulated.

"Its intent is one, just one, to protect the lives and property of all the citizens of this republic," he said, adding that the new anti-terror law will also improve the operational effectiveness of the new security law.

Kenyatta said the new law will help in dealing with emerging crimes such as cross-border crimes, which, he said, call for a radical approach in dealing with them.

This comes after Parliament forced through the contentious Security Bill amid fist-fights, name calling and drama late on Thursday.

Speaker of the National Assembly Justice Muturi was forced to reorganize the Order Paper, putting other amendments before the Security Laws for discussion amidst chants from the opposition lawmakers that the struggle was still on.

Members of the public and media were not allowed into the House to cover the proceedings, which had been adjourned twice amid fist- fights by legislators from the two coalitions.

The new law gives the president powers to appoint the new Inspector General of Police and forward the name to the National Assembly for Approval.

The proposed amendments will introduce radical penalties, among them, a 20-year jail term for persons who will be convicted of advocating or facilitating terrorism in the country.

The Bill also gives the National Intelligence Service (NIS) unlimited powers to tap communication and to do so without a court order.

It also amends NIS Act by empowering police officers to stop and detain persons whom they witness engaging in serious crimes or are in possession of objects or material that could be used for the commission of serious crimes.



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