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TIGHTENING THE GRIP

New bill proposes state control of NGOs in anti-terror drive

Activist dismisses it as ill-thought out and aimed at curtailing civil societies

In Summary

•Proposed law to put anti-terror theme lobbyists under NCTC

•NGOs handling anti-terrorism themes have a caucus where they self-regulate

National Civil Society Congress coordinator Suba Churchill
National Civil Society Congress coordinator Suba Churchill
Image: FILE

The National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) will oversight all anti-terrorism themed lobby groups if members of Parliament pass a new bill.

The Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill, 2019 now in Parliament wants to change the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2012 and place local and international civil society groups under the centre.

“The centre shall be an approving and reporting institution for all civil society organisations and international non-governmental organisations engaged in preventing and countering violent extremism and radicalisation through counter-messaging or public outreach, and disengagements and reintegration of radicalised,” the proposed law reads in part.

National Civil Society Congress coordinator Suba Churchill said the proposal was ill-thought out and aimed at curtailing civil societies in the country.

The NGOs working on anti-terrorism themes were not established with the sole mandate to fight terrorism but adopted as one of the objectives as a social issue.

“...therefore bringing them under NCTC when they are regulated by NGO Coordination Act and moving to PBO Act is a ploy to classify NGOs in attempts to divide and rule which we will not accept,” he said.

“We will put our heads together as sector players and prepare a memorandum in the interest of public participation to register our rejection and explain our standpoint.” 

Churchill said NGOs handling anti-terrorism themes have a caucus where they self-regulate, thus passing another law is aimed at disrupting their operations and managing them.

The Bill also proposes to make changes on who constitutes the NCTC to include Kenya Wildlife Service, Kenya Prisons, the Probation and Aftercare Services Department and the Office of Director of Public Prosecutions. Kenya Civil Aviation Authority, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Directorate of Immigration representatives have also been included on NCTC board.

Initially, it was only the representatives from National Intelligence Service, Kenya Defence Forces, the Attorney General, National Police and others picked by the National Security Council who were represented on the board for a three-year non-renewable term.

 

The new proposals will allow members to sit on the board for one renewable term.

If the bill is passed, the centre will have the additional mandate of analysing all information and intelligence on terrorism and counter-terrorism for purposes of proposing policy and legal adjustments to the National Security Council and other national security leadership.

The centre is responsible for the coordination of national counterterrorism efforts to detect, deter and disrupt terrorist acts.