Security Law suspension a victory for CORD?
03 January 2015, 15:02
Nairobi - The CORD coalition did not hide its pleasure at the suspension of the controversial Security Laws 2014 by the High Court but is it a victory as they have made it seem like?
Led by co- principals Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka and Moses Wetangula, the coalition members danced to songs of joy when the announcement was made by Judge George Odunga suspending eight clauses in the controversial law.
The suspension will see the government retreat to the drawing board to try resurrect a piece of legislation it worked hard to pass in a short time.
But is it a victory for CORD?
" It is in a political sense but I do not think it means much in the grand scheme of things," political analyst Michael Njenga says.
" They have won in the sense that the law has its flaws and they need to be looked at, but that is where it ends. I do not see much further room for celebration".
" That they have stopped the Jubilee juggernaut for a moment is a statement on its own and they will revel in that".
" However, as we have seen, the government will not be cowed by the Judiciary. They will keep a brave face but the truth is they will want to drive home the laws as much as they want," he added.
Raila was most pleased, arguing that his side had finally beaten the Jubilee coalition's big numbers in parliament as well as the Senate.
"Everybody feared that we were going back to those dark days of torture and dictatorship. What has been done today is very historic. You cannot compromise the security of Kenyans."
" It is a big victory for Kenyans and democracy," he added.
The new law hands authorities sweeping powers, including the right to hold terror suspects for nearly a year without charge, and threatens journalists with up to three years behind bars if their reports "undermine investigations or security operations relating to terrorism".
The eight clauses suspended by the High Court include the threat to imprison journalists if they publish "insulting, threatening, or inciting material or images of dead or injured persons which are likely to cause fear and alarm to the general public", or "any information which undermines investigations or security operations."
Also suspended is the right for the prosecution to withhold certain evidence and a 150,000 ceiling on the number of refugees allowed into Kenya -- which would have led to the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of refugees from Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and other conflict-hit countries in the region.
New definitions on what constitutes inciting and aiding terrorism, as well as police surveillance powers, have also been shelved.
The case will now head to the Supreme Court where CORD have not had their fair share of success, starting with the ruling granting president Uhuru Kenyatta's election win in 2013 credence.
" They will hope for better. I wonder what the Court will do. Will it follow the law to the letter or read the case in favour of the government, which needs to enact these measures," Njenga asks?
" The president has previously asked the Judiciary to think about their decisions especially when it comes to terrorism, so we will wait and see what happens," he adds.
Do yes, it might be a win for CORD, but the fat lady is yet to well and truly sing.
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