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The East African : Jun 21st 2015
16 CONTROVERSIAL LAW Uganda MPs pass anti-terror Bill It gives police powe≥s to f≥eeze assets, seize p≥ope≥ty By HALIMA ABDALLAH Special Correspondent anti-terrorism Bill despite fears that it could be abused by state agencies to suppress political dissent. Parliament voted to give U police discretionary powers to freeze funds or seize the property of those suspected to be abetting terrorism. This effectively shot down a recommendation by the committee that the Director of Public Prosecutions handle this mandate for fear the police could abuse the law for political reasons. “Fighting terrorism is bi- partisan. Our point of disagreement is for anybody to use such a law to fight political wars,” said the leader of opposition, Wafula Oguttu. Some Members of Parlia- ment, said the role should be given to either the Bank of Uganda, the Financial Intelligence Authority or the Director of Public Prosecutions. At the start of debate in the hastily summoned House, there were only 118 MP’s present. The house requires 125 to constitute a quorum. After an adjournment, the Uganda police. Some MPs fear the Bill could be abused by state agencies. Picture: File Speaker rejected pleas for a recount. One contentious clause al- lows the Inspector-General of Police to direct, in writing, a bank to freeze an account where there is reason to believe the funds are linked to or intended for terrorism. Considering that the police already have the Public Order Management Bill, which was also passed amid protests from the opposition, civil society and the general public, this law, it is feared could be used to curtail constitutionally allowed activities and flow of funds for the opposition. The Anti-Terrorism Amendment Bill 2015 was introduced with the objective of conforming to the United Nations Convention on the Suppression of Financing of Terrorism 1999. Critics of the amendment say it did not provide a clear definition of who a terrorist is while activities comprising terrorism were ambiguous. President Yoweri Museveni is obliged to sign the Bill into law within 90 days but is expected to do it sooner given the lengths the government ganda’s parliament has passed a controversial The EastAfrican NEWS JUNE 20-26,2015 Slow gains made in Kenya te≥≥o≥ wa≥- US By KEVIN J KELLEY Special Correspondent KENYA IS making limited progress in preventing and countering terrorism, the US State Department said last week, saying that attacks inside the country made 2014 “the deadliest of the past four years.” A total of more than MANDATE RECOMMENDATION: The committee had recommended that the Director of Public Prosecutions handle the mandate for fear the police could abuse the law for political reasons. THE ROLE: Some Members of Parliament said the role should be given to either the Bank of Uganda, the Financial Intelligence Authority or the Director of Public Prosecutions. side went to to push the Bill through parliament. The opposition has threat- ened to challenge the contentious provisions of the Bill in the Constitutional Court. 200 Kenyans were slain in several incidents, with Al Shabaab claiming responsibility for three attacks — the mass killings in Mpeketoni, a bus hijacking in Mandera County, and the quarry slaughter also in Mandera — that in all claimed 112 lives. The State Department’s latest global report on terrorism was completed prior to Al Shabaab’s massacre of 147 students at Garissa University College in April. The report describes Kenya as “a strong partner of the United States in the fight against terrorism.” Kenyan officials “co-operated closely” with the US on counter-terrorism issues, “and pledged deeper co-operation,” the State Department adds. The US sees some gains in Kenya’s institutional capacity to achieve greater security for its citizens. Among the positive developments cited in the report are the judiciary’s demonstrations of “independence and competence,” implementation of screening technology at major ports of entry, and enhanced safeguards against terrorism financing. But the US also sees The EastAfrican, will on June 27, 2015, carry an informative feature focusing on; * Accreditation Scheme for Inspection & Certification Bodies * Accreditation Scheme for Proficiency Testing & Laboratories * Pre-shipment verification of conformity PVOC * Private conformity assessment bodies * Other Accreditation Schemes To advertise in this feature contact Lilian Kamau email@example.com 0725944065 Members of the Red Cross help a woman whose relative was killed in an Al Shabaab terror attack in Kenya. Picture: File continued failures in each of those areas, along with “heavy-handed security operations [that] risked further alienating communities at risk of violent extremism.” The report points to “a public perception of a bias against the Somali community.” The US also faults un- named “senior leaders” for using “divisive and inflam- matory rhetoric” in the wake of terrorist attacks. Specific criticisms are lodged in regard to “Usalama Watch,” the security operation in April and May that rounded up thousands of suspects in Nairobi and Mombasa. The report notes allegations by the Independent Policing Oversight Authority to the effect that these mobilisations were “fraught with abuse, corruption, and violations of civil liberties.” Kenyan security forc- es were more generally charged with having carried out extrajudicial killings and other abuses last year, the report said. Poor co-ordination among the police, intelligence and military forces impeded counterterrorism efforts, the State Department said. “Limited resources; insufficient training; endemic corruption; and an unclear command and control of, and politicisation of, some terrorist incidents” are cited in the report as additional causes for ineffectiveness on the part of Kenya’s security forces. The judiciary’s perform- ance was hampered by a lack of procedures enabling plea bargains, as well as limitations in gathering electronic evidence and using other “undercover investigative tools,” the report said. Lack of capacity and inadequate systems of national identification serve to weaken border security and law enforcement’s ability to identify and detain potential terrorists, the State Department adds. The report also sees signs of greater accountability for abuses committed by Kenyan authorities. The Independent Policing Oversight Authority investigated multiple cases of police misconduct and referred them to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, the report points out.
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