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NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL BILL H.B. 2, 2022

NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL BILL, 2022

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 This Bill makes further provision in respect of the National Security Council established by section 209 of the Constitution. The Bill provides for additional members and functions of the Council to those provided for in the Constitution. It also sets out a general framework for the operations of the Council.

In more detail, the Bill provides as follows:

Part I: PreliMinary

 This Part provides for preliminary matters: the title of the Bill which is the National Security Council Bill, 2022 (clause 1) and the interpretation of some of the terms used in the Bill (clause 2).

Part  II: National Security council

 In this Part, clause 3 of the Bill adds the commanders of the security services, the Chief Secretary to the President and the Cabinet, the Ministers responsible for intelligence, security, defence, police, prisons and finance to the Council, with power granted to the President to appoint any other Minister to the Council. All the members are ex officio and therefore their membership terminates when they cease to hold office. Membership of any Minister appointed in terms of clause 3 may also be terminated at the discretion of the President. Clause 4 provides for additional functions of the Council to include various matters whose destabilisation could result in the disturbance of peace. The listed matters are not exhaustive as national security concerns could arise with respect to any other matters. The Council has power to seek advice on any matter from experts. Clause 5 provides for meetings of the Council and its committees. Meetings are chaired by the President who is the chairperson of the Council and in his absence, by the Acting President.

Part III: operationS of council

 In this Part, Clause 6 requires reports from the commanders to be submitted to the Council for its consideration. Clause 7 gives the Council power to issue security-related directives to the security services or to any person. Necessary support must be afforded any person issued with any directive to enable them to comply with it. Directives must be subject to the fundamental rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution.

Part IV: General

 This Part provides for general matters. Under clause 8, members of the Council are bound by confidentiality during and after termination of their membership. In addition, any other person who acquires any security related information by whatever means is under obligation to keep it confidential. Clause 9 provides for annual reports to Parliament.

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