Kenya’s Senate wants changes to security laws
| Sep 30th 2015 | 2 min read
NAIROBI: The Government is once again giving a shot at having the controversial clauses left out in the Security Laws Amendment Act by the National Assembly reintroduced in the Senate.
The Executive's proposals seek to amend six acts of Parliament, a move that might reignite a fierce debate not only by the legislators but a public outrage, as was witnessed last year in the National Assembly.
The proposed law, the Security Laws (amendment) Bill, 2015 sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Kithure Kindiki, seeks to reinstate some of the disputed sections dropped by the National Assembly amid a chaotic legislative session.
They include the Public Order Act, the Radiation Protection Act, the Rent Restrictions Act, Kenya Airports Authority Act, the Traffic Act and the National Police Service Act.
If this bill is passed, all motor vehicle dealers will be required to keep a monthly record of all vehicles sold and those in stock.
"The record will be submitted to the National Police Service and the Kenya Revenue Authority at the end of each month," states the draft law.
The proposed law also provides for establishment of buffer zones around all airports and airstrips aimed at enhancing their security.
"The Cabinet secretary shall, on recommendations of the (Kenya Airports) Authority by order published in the gazette provide zoning land adjacent to aerodromes for security purposes by creating 250m controlled zone from runaway centreline and not less than 50m from the airport's outer perimeter fence," reads the bill.
According to Prof Kindiki, the bill is set to reinforce the existing act by bringing back controversial clauses omitted by the National Assembly at the last minute to secure the country, and at the same time protect the fundamental freedom of citizens.
The Tharaka/Nithi senator argues that for instance, his proposals will address the issue of restrictions on public meetings and gatherings once the Public Order Act is amended.
"The bill primarily seeks to amend various acts that are related to the preservation of safety and security. In particular, the bill proposes to amend the Public Order Act to provide for the designation by the Cabinet secretary responsible for security, of places where public meetings and gatherings shall not be held," reads part of the proposed law.
The Bill published on September 18 is set for First Reading in the Senate. These provisions did not pass last year as they were removed before the Act was passed in an exercise that put Kenyan Parliament in the world map, as 'honourable members' exchanged blows and kicks.
The legislative process was reduced to a contest between Jubilee and CORD lawmakers and those opposed to the law, made reference to the Freedom of Movement and the right to picket that are protected in the Constitution.
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