Kenya: U.S. Faults Country Over Weak Terrorism Laws
The Nation (Nairobi)
2 May 2008
Posted to the web 1 May 2008
Kevin J Kelley
Washington, DC/New York
Kenya lacks laws needed to wage an effective war on terrorism, the US has said in a global counter-terrorism survey released on Wednesday.
Failure to enact Bills to strengthen the country’s ability to prosecute terrorists and combat money laundering prevents Kenya from complying with the UN accords it has signed, the US report said.
Washington also cites “political and bureaucratic resistance” to the formation of a terrorism task force.
However, the report took note of criticism of the US approach to the war on terror.
Kenya’s media, human rights NGOs and Muslim leaders have in the past denounced the Suppression of Terrorism Bill as “anti-Muslim”. They also said it gave the Government too much power to potentially abuse human rights, the report observes.
In March last year, senior Kenyan officials criticised a US announcement regarding a possible terrorist threat to the Cross-Country World Championships in Mombasa, the report adds.
The Government saw the US warning as “an unfriendly act and a threat to the country’s vital tourism industry,” the State Department acknowledged.
The report also applauds Kenya’s response to the upheaval in Somalia after the Ethiopian invasion in 2006.
“Kenyan Ministry of Defence efforts largely prevented the flight of violent extremists across the Somalia-Kenya border,” the report said. “The military drastically increased its numbers on the border, and worked closely with police in the region to block (radical Islamist) forces and associated individuals from infiltrating Kenyan territory.”
But it says Kenya’s “borders remain porous and vulnerable to movement of potential terrorists as well as small arms and other contraband”.