Kenya Security Bill: MPs Brawl as Measures Approved

BBC News, December 18, 2014

Kenyan lawmakers traded blows and the deputy speaker had water thrown on her during a chaotic parliamentary session which approved changes to a tough new security bill.

Opposition MPs shouted and ripped up copies of the bill, warning that Kenya was becoming a “police state”.

Four lawmakers were assaulted and another two engaged in a fist-fight.

Parliamentary officials adjourned the debate twice, before the controversial changes were pushed through.

The government says it needs more powers to fight militant Islamists threatening Kenya’s security.

The al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab group has stepped up its military campaign in Kenya, killing 64 people in two attacks in the north-eastern Mandera region since last month.

TV feed cut

The governing Jubilee Coalition MPs approved the changes despite howls of protest from the opposition in one of the most chaotic parliamentary sessions in Kenya’s history, reports the BBC’s Emmanuel Igunza from the parliament.

Security staff and MPs surrounded Speaker Justin Muturi as voting got under way, our correspondent says.

Earlier, opposition MPs mobbed his rostrum and threw books, documents and other projectiles in a bid to block the vote, AFP news agency reports.

But the two sides set aside their differences to endorse President Uhuru Kenyatta’s nomination of former army general Joseph Nkaissery as interior minister.

His predecessor was sacked after the Mandera attacks.

At one point, live television broadcasts of the debate were cut as the session degenerated into chaos, our correspondent says.

‘Draconian’

A group of pro-government MPs accosted opposition senators who were in the public gallery and tried to eject them, he says.

In the ensuing commotion, one of the senators had his shirt torn, while outside the parliamentary chamber an opposition and pro-government MP threw punches at each other, our correspondent adds.

Opposition MPs threw water on Deputy Speaker Joyce Laboso, who ordered two of them to be thrown out.

MPs chanted “no way” and “the struggle continues” as they tore up copies of the bill.

Correspondents say there was a heavy police presence around parliament after activists called for protests to show their opposition to the bill.

MPs were recalled from their Christmas break to approve changes to the bill passed last week.

The bill was denounced by the opposition as draconian. They fear that the proposed amendments will make it even worse.

It gives the security and intelligence agencies the right to detain terror suspects for up to one year, to tap communications without court consent and requires journalists to obtain police permission before investigating or publishing stories on domestic terrorism and security issues.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has defended the bill, saying it is important for the country’s security needs.

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  • DaveMed

    To be honest… I wouldn’t completely object to some of the more vile creatures in the US government being taken down on C-SPAN.

    • Reynardine

      One of the things to look forward to in the future is that C-SPAN will resemble WorldstarHipHop closer and closer…

      • Oil Can Harry

        Yeah, those Kenyan pols were in full chimp mode.

        Can you imagine if we ever had one of these Kenyans running the US gov’t? Oops.. never mind…

  • Seems to be a cross between the start of a prison riot and a scene out of Birth of a Nation. I could swear they were going to break out in a chant of Hands Up Don’t Shoot.

    • Tarczan

      Actually the Parliament just got their shipment of Air Jordans.

  • superlloyd

    African self rule is almost always chaotic in its commission and execution.

    • John Smith

      Black rule has failed everywhere it’s been tried.

  • Jaggers

    I find all this pretense amusing: they put on their suits, they go to their fancy parliament building…and then the veil is lifted!

  • MartelsGhost

    The jokes are too easy on this one………….

    Of all the things that are hilarious about this small peek inside the zoo, the one that sticks out to me the most is the use of the English language. Guess it’s hard to put all the clicks and whistles into the official minutes…………………………..

  • See The Future

    Looks like they could use the calming influence of their native son currently taking up space in the white house.

  • In all fairness, this happens in Asian parliaments on occasion, including the heavy police presence outside, but I’ve never read about it on this Asiaphilic website. Come on, this is silly. Anyway, the US Congress was a more violent place in the nineteenth century…and the US was a freer country.

    • IstvanIN

      I saw a newsreel of a fight in Japan’s Diet but lets be real, it is much rarer than in Afreaka.

      • If the Republicans got physical with Obama’s minions in Congress, most people here who are mocking the Africans would applaud it, including me. To quote Reagan, “If nothing is worth fighting for, when did this begin?” At least these Kenyans appear to have political parties, more than we can say. “I yield the balance of my time to the honorable gentleman from Kansas …” so I can hit the lynx with a lobbyist, cut a deal and import a few more million slave laborers.

        Nevertheless, I get your point.

        • Kenner

          PETA says never ‘hit the lynx’.

    • OS-Q

      I agree.

      I also think we have a lot of politicians that need a good caning once in a while.

  • Paleoconn

    That can be Detroit city council.

  • LeonNJ

    Looks and sounds like a Sunday service.

  • John Smith

    They only had enough fried chicken for half of them….

  • MartelsGhost

    So my comment about clicks and whistles being hard to enter into the minutes got “removed”? WTF Mods? Or was it the part how I found a bunch of screaming purple drank fanatics still using the English language so amusing? Since when is Amren not a safe haven for such humor? I used no foul language and made no threats of any kind. Some disturbing things going on in the moderators club here………………………..

    And BTW it really does look like a bunch of monkeys flinging poo at each other whilst ooking and eeking at the top of their lungs.

  • archer

    I wish our reps had the balls to fight for us when the congress was passing the un-patriot act and the NDAA, these “reforms” remind me of those two laws.

  • Augustus3709

    Eastern Europe has been ravaged by International Communism. Or is it only non-Whites who get to use history as an excuse.

  • US Representative Preston Brooks nearly killed fellow Representative Charles Sumner by beating the bejesus out of him with a cane in 1856. Mr. Brooks only stopped when the cane broke.

  • princejeb

    It’s like a group of monkeys fighting over a pile of bananas.