It was in complete shock that Kenyans and the world watched what was supposed to be a quiet debate and voting session in Kenya’s house of parliament take a drastic and humiliating turn into a display of some of the most uncivilized traits by our politicians. The members of the parliament were seen pushing, pulling and exchanging blows. The lawmakers disappointedly exercised their disregard for the same law they swore to protect by tearing up the order papers while the Deputy Speaker Joyce Laboso was sadly splashed water on.
The controversial law was passed on Thursday in the midst of chaos which made made headline on most international media outlets following repeated delays. The new law essentially gives authorities powers to crack down on terror suspects and also curtail press freedoms that has been under threat in a country that has suffered a number of unrelentless attacks by Somalia-based Al-Shebab Islamist Terrorists.
The government has argued that the measures outlined in the new law are necessary if there is going to be any chance of succeeding in this war against terror however, the human rights groups including the opposition have said that it assaults the basic human rights and freedom.
Some of the concerns and infringement on the rights of people are as a result of the extended time in which the police can hold terror suspects from the current 90 days to nearly a year, increased sentences more powers to tap phones which the new law grants.
In addition to the above, Journalists could be jailed for up to three years if their reports “undermine investigations or security operations relating to terrorism,” or if they decide to publish images of victims of terror without due permission from the police.The tumultuous circumstances surrounding the passage of the new bill into law caught the attention of almost all major international media outlets which covered the shameful event, with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reporting the story as “There have been wild scenes in Kenya’s parliament as a debate over tough new anti-terror laws descended into chaos.” while The New York Times said the scenes were “something akin to a rugby scrum, with lawmakers in suits and ties wrestling over papers amid futile cries from the speaker of ‘Order! Order’”.
More headlines that were so disappointing for the nation included: “Kenyan MPs brawl as security measures passed,” – BBC headline
“Fight breaks out in Kenyan parliament over counterterrorism Bill,” – Fox News and according to Zambian Daily Mail “Kenyan lawmakers trade blows over Bill”
The chaos have served its purpose because both the eyes of the world and terrorists are now fixed on Kenya to see how this all plays out as John Mwora lamented in his comment during the transmission, “One can’t help but wonder what the perpetrators of acts of terror are thinking when they watch these events in the so-called august House,”
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