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JUBA - 13 Jun 2019

Amended NSS bill to check abuse of power: NCAC

A committee tasked with constitutional amendments said it has agreed on a provision that would strengthen checks on abuse of power by National Security Service (NSS).

The national security law gives excessive powers to security forces, among others, arrest without a warrant, search suspected criminals and places, and seize property connected with crimes or offences against the state. 

 “We have looked at areas where there was said to be abuse of power by the service and we have strengthened the checks on abuse of power,” said Gichira Kibara, chairperson of the National Constitutional Amendments Committee (NCAC).

The NCAC on Thursday presented the amended National Security and Political Parties bills to Justice Minister, Paulino Wanawilla. The minister will table the amended bills before the cabinet for approval.

Kibara said his committee strengthened complaints board to enable it deal with complaints from the public against the service.

“We have maintained all powers necessary for an effective service. We believe the bill represents best practices in this area,” he stressed.

The committee, its chairperson said, also amended provisions which would allow the first vice president and the other four vice presidents become members of the National Security Council.

“There is a requirement in the agreement for consultations on the appoints of directors general of the service and we have incorporated that,” Kibara said.

Kibara revealed that the committee members failed to agree on the issue of arrest without a warrant. “The committee was not able to agree whether to delete or retain the provision and we have indicated that in the explanation note,” he said.

Meanwhile, Kibara said amendments were made to the Political Parties Act to ensure it provides an enabling environment for registration and operation of political parties in accordance with democratic practices.

These amendments, he said, include provisions allowing political parties to be registered on an interim basis. He added that they also included provisions that would allow mergers and coalitions between political parties before and after elections.

Kibara further said they included modalities that would allow consultations between the president and his five deputies during the transitional period on the formation of the political parties’ council.

“We also included the representation of women as required by the peace agreement,” he said.

The NCAC was established under Chapter 1 Article 13 of the peace agreement.