By Suleiman Hassan
Muslims in Kenya and especially the Somalis have been reassured of their safety and security following the introduction of a new piece of legislation that was termed draconian.
The bill which was passed by Parliament on Thursday in a special sitting that turned chaotic after fracas erupted in the house was signed into law by President Kenyatta at State House today.
Rights activists, journalists and the Opposition Coalition Cord raised their voice against the bill because they said it violated the bill of rights and the constitution.
Muslims in the Country also raised concern over several clauses that seemed targeting the community.
However, Majority Leader Aden Duale has reassured Muslims and all those who were opposed to the bill that it was now free of all the issues they raised as all the sections that violated the bill of rights were amended.
Duale said that cancellation of National Identification (ID) cards will now have to get the nod of a court of law unlike as previously proposed where by the Director of registration could do it alone.
He added that National Intelligence officers’ arresting powers have been amended. They will have to stop, arrest and handover any person to the nearest police station, these, he said, are the same arresting powers that the common mwananchi enjoys.
On refugees, he said the limit of 150,000 will not affect those currently in the Country but new arrivals.
“Should there be need for an increase in that number, then the Government must get the green light from Parliament” he said.
He added that clauses touching specifically on religious and places of worship were expunged.
He said no searches will be conducted without a valid search warrant from a court of law.
Kenyans will also continue to enjoy the right to assemble and hold peaceful demonstrations anywhere unlike as previously proposed that special places be designated by the Interior Cabinet Secretary for such activities.
Duale’s sentiments was supported by his Dadaab Counterpart Dr. Mohamed Dahiye who said that he believes the bill will have no negative effects on Somalis and Muslims at large.
Dr. Dahiye said the bill has now been streamlined to be in tandem with the constitution.
“Politics aside, we have been working until late in the night for two days to make sure that all the controversial clauses were either amended or expunged” Said Dr. Dahiye.
The two lawmakers from Garissa urged Kenyans to carefully scrutinize the bill and ignore blind accusations aimed at creating more confusion in the Country.
Elsewhere, Wajir South MP. Hon. Abdullahi Diriye (Dakalow) said that the bill was targeting Somalis and Muslims at large as it perpetuates blanket condemnation of the community.
Diriye added that they will seek legal redress to challenge the newly enacted law.
The MPs were speaking to different Somali media houses.