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MPs set to decide on proposed changes to NIS Act

30 July 2014, 08:35 Samuel Kisika

Nairobi – The National Assembly’s Defense and Relations committee is expected to meet on Thursday to decide on the proposed changes to the National Intelligence Service (NIS) Act that seeks to provide the agency with more powers of monitoring people’s personal phone conversations.

Although the committee members did not make an agreeable decision on the proposed Act in a recent meeting with four summoned NIS directors, some members have vowed to reject the proposed changes which they say it is intrusion of personal privacy without a court order as provided in the Constitution.

The MPs also intend to reject the proposed Bill because it seeks to provide the NIS Director General with more powers of appointing the deputy directors and other NIS members, which they hold the Director, will have much power than the elected president.

The Bill’s proposed amendment seeking to do away with the Service being granted a court order before arresting and detaining suspects of crime, the MPs say it will be going back in those retrogressive days when people were detained without trial.

The committee members the proposed changes to the NIS Act were illegal since they touch on the constitutional provisions which can only be amended through a substantive constitutional amendment Bill.

Homa Bay Town MP, Peter Kluma, a committee member asserted that the changes are a drawback to the nation’s reforms agenda.

“We are treading on a dangerous ground as a country if all we think about is to create powerful individuals. The constitution we have advocates for strong institutions, not powerful individuals, because doing so is similar to eroding the gains made,” said Kaluma.

The proposed Bill also seeks to do away with the functions of the National Security Council which plays a crucial role in the appointment of the NIS members and other security agencies through amicable consultations.

Currently, the Council consists of the Interior Cabinet Secretary as the chairperson, Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary, Treasury Cabinet Secretary, the AG, the DGI and the Secretary to the Cabinet.

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