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DW-Interview Raila Odinga
Former Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga has launched a legal challenge to anti-terrorism legislation passed by the government of President Uhuru KenyattaImage: DW/A. Schmidt

Kenya anti-terror law in court hearing

Isaac Mugabi
December 29, 2014

The fate of Kenya's controversial new anti-terrorism legislation hung in the balance on Monday as the High Court was set to continue hearing an opposition petition calling for its suspension.


The government says the bill - which President Kenyatta has already signed into law - is needed to confront militants. Critics say it erodes basic freedoms.

DW: What are the chances of the opposition succeeding in getting the legislation suspended?

BrianSingoro Wanyama: The legal challenge that has been filed in the High Court by CORD's [Kenya's main opposition Coalition for Reform and Democracy] Raila Odinga is, I think, a 50-50 affair. The CORD petition is anchored in the fact that there was little people participation in the whole law process. The Senate was not involved. In addition to that the law infringes on various rights that are enshrined in the Kenyan constitution. But on the other hand those who are for the law seem to argue that the law captures the government's key issues on insecurity. They say that because al-Shabab has been a great menace in which we have witnessed the selective killing of non-Muslims, the law will go a long way in curtailing such killings. As I said, it's 50-50, and we look forward to a lot of input from the judiciary.

It has been suggested that the opposition has launched this legal challenge just for the sake of opposing the government. What is your view on this?

Because of the political bickering they've been receiving, it might actually improve the opposition's status. But there are people who say the law is good for the country because the insecurity situation is spiraling out of hand. But in a way I think the petition seems to be giving good political mileage to CORD and should they win this petition then they will have definitely accumulated political mileage! Even if they don't win the case tomorrow, they will have still acquired some political mileage because the case will have given them political relevance.

The bickering between the government and the CORD opposition seems never to end. Where do you see this taking Kenya in 2015?

Kenyans are optimistic people. They expect their government to guarantee them security, will create jobs for them, will fix the infrastructure, will fix security, will fix various key sectors on which the economy is anchored - but we have this political bickering! Political bickering is bad because it leads to balkanization of the country. It is not very healthy and I think we need some political healing especially after the elections.

Brian Singoro Wanyama is a Kenyan political analyst

Interview: Isaac Mugabi

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