Senate recalled to deliberate on security laws


Ekwee EthuroNAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 26 – The Senate has been recalled to a special sitting on Tuesday to discuss a motion relating to the recently enacted Security Laws Amendment Act.

Senate Speaker Ekwee Ethuro recalled the upper House in a Special Gazette Notice dated December 24.

“There will be a special sitting for the Senate on Tuesday 30 December 2014, at 2.30 pm. The business will be a motion relating to enactment of the Security Laws (Amendment) Act,” read a message sent to Senators.

This is after Senate Minority Leader Moses Wetang’ula wrote to the Speaker requesting he recall the House so that the Senate needs to take a common position on the matter.

Wetang’ula and other 15 Senators who had petitioned the Speaker claim the legislation should have been brought to the Senate for concurrence because it has provisions which affect operations of the counties.

“We hold a strong position that towards this law, which also concerns counties, is fatal. It is even a constitutional fatality that the National Assembly leadership declined to ensure Article 110 (3) operates, and went ahead to pass the law,” said the Bungoma County Senator.

The Senator had initially written to Ethuro requesting for a special sitting, before the National Assembly passed the legislation. But the Speaker did not assent to the request citing the matter was overtaken by events after the President signed it into law last Friday.

CORD, Kenya National Commission on Human Rights and other civil societies have already moved to court to challenge the constitutionality of law because it violates the right to fair trial, adding that the offences created under the Act are oppressive and unjustifiable.

CORD through their lawyer James Orengo (Siaya County Senator) said the law affects the right of every citizen to be a Kenyan by giving the Registrar of Persons powers to revoke national identity cards without following due process.

However the High Court turned down CORD’s appeal to suspend the operationalisation of the laws.

Justice Isaac Lenaola gave Solicitor-General Njee Muturi up to Sunday to file a response to the petition by CORD and that they should appear before him on Monday when the court will decide whether to issue the orders suspending the new law.

The National Assembly approved the legislation during last Thursday Special sitting which was marked by chaotic scenes.

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