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ICPC Calls for review of NSIS Bill

By Mercy Oyaya | Aug 14th 2012 | 3 min read

By Mercy Oyaya

The International Center for Policy and Conflict (ICPC) has called for the review of some clauses in the proposed National Intelligence Service Bill, 2011 that will reform the National Security Intelligence Services (NSIS).

This follows the previous documented instances of using national security concerns, including NSIS, to disguise corrupt procurement practices. The ICPC identified that there has been lack of clarity on who supervises the NSIS with regard to ‘‘classified information clause.’

“This is important for both public and transitional justice systems and must not be viewed as a prism for victimisation. Nyayo house torture documents, for example, should be eventually released as part of national healing process,” states the memo.

ICPC has also said that the NSIS and its predecessor, the Special Branch, have a history of widespread spying on public servants hence creating despondency in the execution of their duties citing that Departmental Intelligence clause is not sufficiently insulated from abuse.

The organisation added that it would be important that it be clarified so that intelligence gathered may not be used as a basis for discrimination and victimisation in public service.

Accordingly the ICPC recommended that the speaker of the National Assembly should not be MPs at the time of election to allow the Director General to be hired through transparent and participatory process.

“We further recommend that the Bill elevates the Director General beyond normal political cycle by allowing a single fixed-term of 7 years non-renewable just like the DPP or CJ.  This observation is also informed by legitimate historical concerns that eligibility for renewable terms tend to breed partisan instincts in office holders in favor on the regime in power,” proposed the organisation.

In light of submission of single fixed-term for director general, the Removal from Office of D-G clause the ICPC recommended similar standards for DPP be applied.

It also said that the powers of the DG is extremely broad and should be reconsidered since NSIS is a civilian institution and should therefore not be allowed to carry arms.

 “Power to carry and order use of arms should be specifically excluded, and in any case be subjected to approval of civilian police authorities who are the licensed institution with regard to policing. We thus urge that restraint of power be imposed, and the D-G’s powers be clearly and substantively subjected to supervision by the President and Parliament.  This recommendation should be read together with s. 13 (2), s. 28 and s. 38 of the Bill,” read the ICPC memo.

The memo further proposed that the upward revision of penalty to be mandatory period of at least 7 years and a fine of Kshs. 10 million on NSIS officers who use torture in execution of their duties.    

It also recommends the staggering expiry of terms of office of the first group of commissioners without substantively altering the maximum period of service of 6 years.

The ICPC also recommended that parliament through PIOC be furnished with annual report by the NSIS and an abridged version of which the PIOC should notify to the whole house. This may be debated by subject to special motion.



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