Deputy President cautions against mass action over security laws

Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto has cautioned critics of the newly enacted anti- terror law against calling for mass action, which, he said, will create further confusion in the country.

Ruto urged political leaders opposed to the Security Amendments Act 2014, which was signed into law on Friday by President Uhuru Kenyatta, to use democratic means to air their views instead of resorting to mass action.

“Taking issues to streets cannot help solve the problem, but will instead lead to further confusion.

“We should not resort to mass action because of competition over issues which can be solved by use of law,” Ruto said in Uasin-Gishu County in Rift Valley.

His remarks came after ex-Prime Minister Raila Odinga, who heads the official opposition, Coalition for Reform and Democracy (CORD), said the coalition will move to court to stop implementation of the new security laws.

Odinga said the chaos in the National Assembly on Thursday was shameful, and accused the government of refusing to listen to the people, vowing to challenge the constitutionality of the Security Bill.

He said if their bid fails in court, they will resort to mass action to press the government to review the law, which he said infringes on the civil liberties.

Speaking in Machakos, eastern Kenya on Sunday, former Vice- President Kalonzo Musyoka, said Kenya does not need a punitive security bill like the one passed in Parliament, but needs to deal with corruption in the security system, which gives terrorists easy access to our territory.

“We cannot have laws which are driven by desires to act against the interest of the citizens of this country,” Musyoka said, adding that security apparatus need to deal with terror suspects with precision.

The former VP said the Islamic states ideology being floated across the globe is the latest approach by terrorists to make the world unsafe

The proposed anti-terror bill has generated heated debates among Kenyans and international community, with critics suggesting that the bill infringes on many basic rights and freedoms protected in Kenya’s constitution and international human rights law.

However, the government has defended the new security law, which it said will empower security networks and does not violate the Bill of Rights in the Constitution as claimed by its critics.

“I am confident that you will find that there is nothing in this law that goes against the Bill of Rights or any provision of the constitution.

“Its intent is one: to protect the lives and property of all citizens,”President Kenyatta said earlier.

“For the first time, we now have a law that focuses on prevention and disruption of threats.

Further, the law allows for the use of technology in processing and advancing the ability for successful prosecution of suspects.

All concerns raised by different stakeholders have been addressed by the relevant parliamentary committees,”he added.

Kenya has faced increased attacks targeting civilians since October 2011, when its troops entered Somalia in the context of military operations against ‘al-Shabaab’.

Musyoka said the coalition will seek judicial review to ensure the new security laws are not implemented. He said the passing of the bill was unconstitutional.

“The real target of this law is not terrorism.

“Its aim is to re-introduce the police state and political hegemony for enjoyment of the remnants of Kanu, who are keen to reintroduce what Kenyans fought so hard to defeat,” Kalonzo said.

However, Ruto said demonstrations should not be used as the only alternative to solving problems facing the country, urging leaders to use democratic means to air their views instead of resorting to mass action.

He said leaders should engage in activities aimed at uniting the country instead of dividing it, noting that Kenya is a democratic country that could solve its challenges by the rule of law for the benefit of all its citizens.

“I want to tell our friends in the Opposition that as much as we respect their right to hold their views, they should do so in good manner.

“They should conduct their business in a democratic manner,” said Ruto.