Time has come for Kenyans leadership to do what some of us have been urging them to do, which is enact tough anti-terror laws to deal with the problem of terrorism. I repeat there is no free lunch so folks, Kenyans MUST be prepaid for some trade-off between security and liberty. The big question is this: what is it they treasure most and how are they likely to maximize whatever it is they desire?
I have to come clean here and say that I have written recently to Kenya authorities with suggestions on the delicate balance between security and liberty, and the need for the type of Omnibus bill now being debated. I took advantage of the knowledge gathered from a conference convened shortly after 9/11 to offer some practical suggestions. BTW, the suggestions are not anti-constitutional because they shall, if challenged be found constitutional.
Once again, liberties are like markets, they exist within very narrow confines. Like markets, liberties cannot exist without an active state aka regulation. Needless to say America has the most competitive economy in the world because it is also the most regulated!. That is correct. So without the tough laws, Kenyans cannot enjoy the liberties they desire.
We cannot sit here in UAH and pretend that the world never changed after 9/11 as painfully illustrated by the CIA report on torture. The business of keeping the majority, okay the good citizens from the bad ones is s not pretty. It is a mess, but it has to be done.
Yes, the Omnibus Bill would give NSIS power to arrest and detain rather than simply pass on information which is not acted on in timely manner. So what is wrong with that? No more excuse fro NSIS.
It is not true that the Bill introduces torture chambers although terrorist or suspected terrorist may be subject to some tough tactics and longer detention.
The Bill also would give the president the power to name the IGP of his or her choice and fire them without hiding behind security of tenure. Why is that generally a bad thing? The fear is that officers will act to please the government rather than make independent decisions. That is one of the trade-offs that must be made.
I pray Jubilee will use its tyranny of numbers to pass the Omnibus Bill and give President Uhuru Kenyatta the tools and discretion he needs to secure Kenyans so they can once again enjoy not just economic rights, but other liberties such as night life, hanging out, working anywhere without fear etc.
BTW, the Omnibus Bill has received the full support of the Catholic and Anglican Churches in Kenya who have urged the legislature to do the right thing to tighten the noose on terrorists.