The fight against terrorism in the country received backing Thursday after the High Court endorsed the amendments to the Prevention of Terrorism Act of 2012.
This is after Justice Eric Ogola disallowed an application by a group of civil societies challenging the National Assembly’s decision to amend the Act.
In his ruling, Judge Ogola said there was no violation of the Constitution as indicated by the 20 Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in their petition.
“The application lacks merit and is here dismissed with cost,” Justice Ogola ruled.
In their petition, the over 20 CSOs had argued that the National Assembly had, through the Miscellaneous Amendment of 2019, amended the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2012 to include ‘draconian provisions.’
The changes granted the National Counter-Terrorism Act powers to regulate the operation of Civil Society Organisations and International Non-Governmental Organisations.
The amendments read in part, the Kenya National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) shall be an approving and reporting institution for Civil Society Organisations and International Non-Governmental Organisations engaged in preventing and countering violent extremism and radicalization.”
In their petition, they had declared the amendments illegal and unconstitutional on the basis that it gave (NCTC) powers to regulate the operations of CSOs and International Non-Governmental Organisations (INGO).
The CSOs said the changes invited the NCTC to design their programme and their operations, which is the role of the NGOs Coordination Board.
They also argued there was no public participation in the changes to the Prevention of Terrorism Act of 2012.
Speaking to the media outside the Mombasa Law Courts, Coast Civil Society Network Chairperson, Zedekiah Adika, expressed their dissatisfaction with the ruling, stating that they shall appeal the judgment.
“We see this judgment as a continued process of curtailing civic voice by requiring Civil Society to report to an institution set to deal with terrorism, we respectfully differ with the findings,” said Adika.