By Standard Team
A group of Muslim leaders have proposed amendments to the contentious Prevention of Terrorism Bill even as others, including lawyers at the Coast, maintained it would infringe on constitutional rights and victimise members of the faith.
The Bill yesterday passed its second reading in Parliament and is now in the Committee stage where the amendments will be incorporated.
The region has faced recent terror attacks blamed on Al Shabaab and many local youth have joined extremist groups abroad, including Somalia. The Muslim leaders met with top Government officials led by the Internal Security Minister Katoo ole Metito. The meeting resolved that the Bill be amended to address their concerns when it comes to the floor of Parliament.
They, however, declined to reveal the nature of the amendments agreed with the minister.
Those present at the meeting included Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Eugene Wamalwa, Internal Security PS, Mutea Iringo, and MPs Abdikadir Mohamed, Mohamud Mohamed, Sheikh Mohamed Dor, and former MP, Billow Kerrow, among others.
The leaders said they had agreed to amend clauses they deemed contentious and go against the Bill of Rights, but refused to state the clauses saying the issue would be discussed in the House. “We will not discuss the particular clauses here because they are coming up in Parliament for debate,” said Mr Dor.
Metito said the purpose of the meeting was to ensure all Kenyans understand the objective of the Bill so they could support it.
“I am happy to state that we have addressed all the concerns raised by the Muslim leadership and agreed to support the Bill,” said Mr Metito.
There are intelligence reports that international terrorist groups have cells in the Coast Province.
Several trials of terrorism suspects, including foreigners, are ongoing in Mombasa and Lamu. Last month, an unidentified people murdered radical Islamist and terror suspect Sheikh Aboud Rogo, a month after he and his friend Abubakar Shariff and Kenyan Awadh Omar Awadh, who is detained in Uganda on terrorism charges were placed on a US sanctions list for allegedly supporting Al Shabaab.
Security officials have said that besides joining Al Shabaab, the province is vulnerable to terrorist infiltration due to cultural, demographic, historical factors, and its proximity to Somalia.