Chaos disrupt Parliament special sitting on Security Bill

Parliament on Thursday

Nairobi, Kenya: A special sitting of the National Assembly was Thursday disrupted when chaos broke out during a session in which the security amendments bill was to go for third reading.

MPs tore order papers to protest security amendments bill prompting speaker Justin Muturi to adjourn house sitting for 30 minutes.

“Order members, order, we are adjourning the House for 30 minutes to resume at 11.35,” he said amid noise.
Kenya's parliament is due to vote on a bill to let police hold suspects in terrorism-related cases for a year and take other measures that rights activists say would threaten civil liberties and free speech.

Following failure to restore order after the 30 minutes break, the House was further adjourned until 2.30pm as legislators engaged in physical fight.

The proposed amendments to the existing security law, which include extending the time suspects can be held without charge to 360 days from 90 days, follows a spate of attacks by militants on Kenya's border region with Somalia that has killed dozens of people.

The amendments would also fine media organisations up to Sh5 million for printing material that is "likely to cause fear or alarm". The proposal does not define such material.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has faced mounting pressure to boost the country's security since an attack in September 2013 on Nairobi's Westgate mall that left 67 people dead.

Early Thursday morning, Anti-riot police patrolled Nairobi streets and dispersed any group of up to four people. Witnesses say they saw police arrest three men near the Tom Mboya statue along Moi Avenue.

“Security is tight and we discourage those planning chaos against doing so. We have enough personnel,” said a senior police officer. Opposition leaders and civil rights activists had said they would hold street protests to oppose the debate and passage of the proposed law.