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.
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
"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
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
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
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.