By Editorial Team
Kenya goes into a crucial stage in the coming weeks when the National Intelligence Service Bill 2012 is introduced to the floor of the House for debate.
The Bill ushers in a new nation, for it seeks to bolster national security, one of the crucial fodders for development. In the past, insecurity has been rife in the country, and in places leaving Kenyans in constant fear. In Mt Elgon, for example, thousands of people were affected by the infamous Sabaot Land Defence Force. Hundreds of people were killed, thousands displaced while children skipped school for fear of attacks by the killer militia.
Mungiki, another terror gang, thrived through maiming and killing innocent Kenyans and were master extortionists. To date, life has never been the same again for the affected families, majority of whom are from Central Province. And without belabouring the point as Kenya Defence Forces are poised to liberate the last bastion of the rag-tag Al Shabaab in Kismayu, Somalia, there’s no doubt Kenya is also under attack from the Al Qaeda-linked terror group.
In the last one year, blood has been shed thanks to the increasingly emboldened attacks from the group’s sleeper cells. Businesses have also been affected by continual grenade attacks leading to loss of billions of shillings. This has impacted negatively on the investment climate over the country.
It is out of such madness that Kenyans should support the National Intelligence Service Bill 2012, which seeks to redeem the country’s once sterling stability.
That stability was, and remains a source of national pride. With peace assured, Kenyans can freely move for one point to another without fear of attack from elements opposed to our chosen way of life. The people of Kenya will thence be free to put their money in any investment opportunity available in the country with little worry.
Kenyans would face little risk once such a law is in place, safe in the knowledge that there is a professional, dedicated Intelligence-gathering vessel watching their back.In a nutshell, the NIS Bill 2012 will see the Service safeguard and promote national security and interests within and outside Kenya, gather, evaluate and transmit departmental intelligence at the request of any State department or public entity, as well as regulate the flow of security intelligence between the Service and that of State departments.
It provides that where the Director-General has reasonable grounds to believe that a warrant is required to enable the Service to investigate any threat to national security or to perform any of its functions, he or she may apply for a warrant in accordance with sub-section Two.
The Bill goes further to give teeth to the Service allowing them to use force and firearms on a case-by-case basis. This means a member of the Service shall first use non-violent means and may employ force only when non-violent means are ineffective, or where he or she is unable to achieve the intended result.
A most reassuring clause promised in the Bill is that the boss of the Service, known as the Director-General, will in many cases be under the watch of the NIS Council.This will be the oversight body consisting of a Cabinet Secretary, AG and Director-General.
Its functions will be augmented by the Intelligence Service Complaints Board, which shall receive and inquire into complaints against the Service made by any person aggrieved by any action by the Director-General. It, therefore, means that proper checks and balances are already in place to ensure such powers are not abused by NIS members during their day-to-day operations.