THE CONTROVERSIAL SECURITY AMENDMENT BILL IS NOW LAW!

President Kenyatta has signed into law the the Security (Amendment) Act 2014.. FILE PHOTO | SALATON NJAU |  NATION MEDIA GROUP
President Kenyatta has signed into law the the Security (Amendment) Act 2014.

Finally, The security Amendment Bill which was passed by a chaotic, finger-biting and terribly acrimonious Baraza in parliament on 18th December, was signed into law by the president barely 24 hours later. However, the speed with which this piece of legislation was passed into law is so suspicious! The urgency couldn’t have only been due to the rampant insecurity in the country. I wish getting rid of the obviously incompetent security chiefs, in the past months, could have been expedited the same way.

It must be known that any law, however beautiful it looks on paper, is just but useless paperwork, unless there is goodwill and the accompanying skills to put it into practice. it is like owning a colorful academic certificate without the attendant skills written therein! We are all aware that the police reforms that Kenyans suggested in the constitution are yet to be carried out conclusively and are long overdue; which defeats the logic of this hurried piece of legislation.

We have seen a clear lack of goodwill from this gov’t when it comes to the implementation of the recently promulgated constitution, especially in matters dealing with the restructuring of the defunct provincial administration and some aspects of devolution. How sure are we that the piece of legislation which was recently signed into law will be effectively used to fight terror?

The reason why Kenyans suggested security of tenure for the police boss, in our new constitution, is because the executive in the past regimes treated the top cops as their lapdogs, who were always at their peck and call. That is why the police were used to  brutally silence any dissenting voices.  Can you imagine that, by a single stroke of a pen, we are headed back there! Once more, both the police boss and the CS for internal security are now at the mercy of the president. Many have argued that we are tired of politics but I think a people should take a break when they are tired, but not taking a hundred steps backwards by reversing gains that were hard earned.

Apart from a few major offending clauses in it, there is no doubt that the law, is full of well meaning intentions and the president is seemingly acting out of goodwill. However, security has been an age-old excuse to silence any dissenting voices in many governments. As it has been the trend with such hurried bills, It is possible that the government operatives who prepared it might have sneaked in some self-serving clauses that, in their wisdom, they thought could help this government have some teeth. These are the clauses that might end up becoming the loopholes used in oppressing the very people that the law is supposed to protect.

As they say, the devil is always in the details and, unfortunately, it is only in Kenya where a bill is hurriedly signed into law without the participation of the biggest stake-holders (who happen to be the citizens) then the president tells them to read it carefully and see whether it has any flaws after it has become law! Does it matter whether we find any flaws in it or not after it has become law? Now we can only trust the courts to give us a well thought-out way forward.

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