A routine parliamentary session in Kenya on Thursday turned chaotic during debate on a controversial new security bill in the house, forcing the Speaker, Justin Muturi, to adjourn sitting for half an hour.
Members of the opposition, who were against the new bill, expressed their displeasure by shouting and tearing up their copies of the bill.
Lawmakers from both sides of the house were reportedly involved in fisticuffs, with images of several of them with torn clothes and scratches going viral on social media.
The BBC also reported that opposition MPs threw water on Deputy Speaker Joyce Laboso, leading to her ordering two of them to be thrown out.
The session was adjourned twice as a result of the confusion but when the parliamentarians returned to the house for a third time, the chaos resumed, with opposition singing the ‘Bado Mapambano’ (the struggle continues) song.
The bill, which is being backed by Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta, will allow security agencies in the country to, for national security, “detain terror suspects for up to one year, to tap communications without court consent.”
Journalists in the country would also have to seek permission from the police before publishing any story on terrorism related issues.
The president has argued that the government needs more power in order to combat the Militant Islamist group al-Shabab who had intensified their attacks in the country in recent times.
The opposition however say that Kenya was turning into a “police state” and that the bill, if passed would further compromise the country’s democratic beliefs.
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By: Edwin Kwakofi/citifmonline.com/Ghana