MPs shine spotlight on drug lords
By Wilfred Ayaga
| June 7th 2019
The police will have wide powers in tracking information linked to drug trafficking, under a proposed law.
The proposed law, the first effort since former Internal Security Minister the late George Saitoti tabled names of alleged drug dealers in Parliament in 2010, will also tighten the noose around drug fugitives who cross borders to evade justice.
The measures are contained in amendments to the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Control) (Amendment) Bill, 2019, currently before the National Assembly.
Allowing the police to intercept information means they can bug or install surveillance cameras in hotels, residences and other places they have reason to believe could be safe havens for drug lords.
“A police officer of or above the rank of a chief inspector of police may, for the purpose of obtaining evidence of commission of an offence under this Act, apply ex parte, to a chief magistrate or to the High Court for interception of communications order,” states the amendment considered by the National Administration and Security Committee last week.
Should Parliament pass the changes, the drug barons will have nowhere to hide, with stiffer provisions for mutual legal assistance between the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and counterpart agencies across the region.
The Bill is currently undergoing public hearings and is expected for debate this week.
Kenya is ranked among the major gateways for drugs in the region, with the Port of Mombasa being cited in various reports as a major gateway for the hard substances.
Although most of the drugs that arrive in the county are on transit, the country, according to multiple reports, is increasingly becoming an end user of the substances.
“Most of the people who consume the drugs are children of the poor, who are targeted by the drug lords. Those destroying our children are the rich who walk our streets taking advantage of ineffective laws,” said Nyali MP Mohammed Ali who has sponsored the Bill.
The MP appeared before the Administration and National Security Committee to explain the changes to his Bill.
The committee chaired by Kiambaa MP Paul Koinange will be on the spot over the proposed law whose passage will be music to the ears of anti-narcotic advocates, parents and children affected by the drug menace.
Members of the committee include John Waluke (Sirisia), Didmus Barasa (Kimilili), Oku Kaunya (Teso North), Peter Kaluma (Homa Bay Town), George Theuri (Embakasi West), Geoffrey King’agi (Mbeere), Tecla Tum (Nandi), Omar Shurie (Balambala), Wambugu Ngunjiri (Nyeri Town) and Nimrod Mbai (Kitui East).
Others are Mohammed Kolosh (Wajir West), Marselino Malimo (Laisamis), Wafula Wamunyinyi (Kanduyi), Owuor Aduma (Nyakach), Josphat Kabinga (Thayu), Justus Kizito (Shinyalu), Peter Masara (Suna West), Yussuf Mucheke (Nominated),
Should Parliament approve the new law, the Cabinet Secretary for Interior will also be required to form a board to monitor the sale and distribution of chemicals that form raw materials for production of certain classes of drugs.
The Bill also proposes stiffer penalties for those convicted for drug offences.
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