It’s not a glass ceiling, it’s a concrete slab

 

We have long heard the adage that in the professional world, women have a glass ceiling they have to burst through especially if they want to hold positions of power and significant influence. There’s a big boys club, women are told, and you either have to find a way of being added into that club OR the big boys have to really like you and ‘let you in’. The woman’s competence, intelligence, capabilities and skills are never considered to be the factors that got her to the top. Oh affirmative action is behind the rise of women, females are told, look at the two thirds gender rule, that’s why women are in positions of leadership. The truth is that the glass ceiling is what women in gender progressive parts of the world confront, here in Kenya and Africa in general, woman are confronted with concrete slabs. Concrete slabs made of perceptions of women as intellectually inferior, concrete slabs that say leadership is for men only, concrete slabs that say how DARE a woman even consider the possibility of leading a county or corporation? And the perceptions of which these concrete slabs consist run across a spectrum. On the more ‘progressive’ side are attitudes that say women should be ‘given a chance’ to lead, as though serendipity is what will inform the success of women in leadership. On the bigoted side are attitudes rooted in notions of inherent male opportunity, attitudes that the most  women can be are appendages directed by men; that say women cannot and indeed should not lead as women in leadership is unnatural, unwise and even immoral.

As a result of these concrete slabs of these negative attitudes, women face a far greater number of obstacles in their career ambitions presented in the form of bigotry in men but also, sadly, fellow women. The reasons behind this are multifaceted. For example, take the story of an identical CV handed out to two groups made of both men and women. In one group the CV had the name of a man on it and in the other group the name of a woman. Both groups were told to voice their impressions on what the person behind the CV would be like in a professional setting. For those who got the male CV, feedback was generally positive.  There was a feeling that the man had good ambition, was decisive and assertive, was in control of his career and would make a good leader. Feedback on the CV with the woman’s name was entirely different. She was perceived to be bitchy, difficult, pushy, too aggressive and bossy. Identical CV, completely opposing perceptions. And this is really at crux of the issue, when women behave in a manner identical to men, they are perceived as more extreme and negative than the man is. Part of this is rooted in the fact that often ‘leadership qualities’ such as decisiveness, direction, confidence, and assertiveness are considered to be ‘male’ attributes. Therefore when women embody these qualities they are viewed as macho and difficult. Whereas the man will be perceived as the BOSS, women will be perceived as BOSSY.

To add complexity to this conundrum is the reality that BOTH men and women are socialised to prefer men in leadership positions. Most women would rather report to a male boss than a female boss. Perhaps a mixture of jealousy and frustration inform the negative attitudes some female leaders face from women. After all, some women may say, why is SHE the boss, I’m just as able and competent as she is! That’s why when there are stories of people ‘sleeping their way to the top’ it refers to women. Surely she can’t be as able as other men with the same level of experience, she must have ‘done something fishy’ to get there…perceptions held by both men and women.

An additional reality that adds thickness to the concrete slabs women in Africa face is the reality that a woman is not perceived to be ‘fully’ female until she gets married…and then has kids; and in that order. Oh yeah be that successful career single woman (even with kids) but no married woman wants you around their husband until you have one of your own. If you have no kids, then there are whispers of ‘what else can she do with all that time…of course she’ll put it all into her job’. In fact some women are told that they should never sacrifice their marriages because of career pressure, it’s better to be married and poor than have a corner office and be a divorcee or single.

And for those women in leadership who are married with children and still career women, the pressures they face to be excellent mothers, excellent wives and excellent leaders is unlike any pressure men face quite frankly. A father and husband can tell his family he has to stay at work late night after night or never be home because of busy travel schedules at work, and that is deemed acceptable. After all, he’s working hard to make a better life for everyone, right? Let the same married mother, wife and career woman utter the same words and she will be slapped with ‘concerned’ friends and relatives asking her why she has abandoned her family. She will be told that she had better be around her kids more otherwise the house maid will be the one raising them. And she better be around for her husband otherwise he will start sleeping with that house maid who is raising her kids.

So what is the woman to do? Avoid accepting promotions so that she is deemed to have embodied the right balance of ambition that still ‘ensure’ others view her as a good mum and wife? Should she avoid taking on demanding roles that would actually allow her to earn more so that she can move her family into a safer neighborhood and take her children to better schools? Finding the work-life balance is sincere struggle working mothers and wives face and quite frankly, often women do not allow their careers to rise to a point where they feel they are sacrificing their family for work. And this is perhaps the most profound concrete slab women face; the self-imposed one.

The sad truth is that the pressures women face is societal bullying. In Kenya and Africa to this day there is no sincere conversation going on about how to better integrate men into taking on the caregiving role. Don’t misunderstand, most women cherish their role as mothers and wives but when women are penalised by society for doing so, then it is unacceptable. If Kenyan women are penalised by attitudes and realities that make society anti-woman when it comes to leadership then how in the world will the country tap into all the abilities women have to give the society and country?

So the next time you see you a woman in leadership remember she has not burst through a glass ceiling, she has lifted and is still is lifting concrete slab after concrete slab into the leadership position she has earned.

 

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A case for a moral regeneration program in Kenya

THE STATE OF MORALITY IN KENYA

Morality is defined as, ‘Principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behaviour’.[1] There seems to be growing concern by Kenyans about the declining levels of morality in Kenyan society and the ability to distinguish between wrong and right. Are Kenyans less able to separate wrong over right? Are there rising cases of those who make an active choice to choose wrong over right? In short, there are concerns that the moral fabric of Kenya is in a dilapidated state. Although no two people may have identical moral compasses that apply to each of their lives, there is the perception that good morals are decaying paving way for hedonists and unprincipled behaviour in all classes in Kenyan society. This perceived immorality seems to be creeping into all aspects of Kenyan society with seemingly innocuous immoral activity such as selfish driving to more serious actions ranging from bribes and corruption, to violence, murder and theft; sexual promiscuity and infidelity as well the sinister cases of paedophilia, rape and domestic abuse. Here are a few illustrative examples of immorality in Kenya:

  • Bribery and corruption: Only 7 in 100 Kenyans will report or complain if they encountered bribery according to the East African Bribery Index 2013.
  • Violence: The announcement of the 2007 election results triggered widespread and systematic violence in Kenya resulting in more than 1,000 deaths and the displacement of over 500,000 civilians. Clashes were characterized by ethnically-targeted killings.
  • Infidelity: A county in Kenya reported infidelity in marriage stood at 37.6%, the highest ever recorded in sub Saharan Africa
  • Murder: 11 % more people were murdered in 2013 than 2012 in Kenya
  • Gender Based Violence: 45% of women between ages 15- 49 in Kenya have expe­ri­enced either phys­i­cal or sex­ual violence with women and girls accounting for 90% of the gender based violence (GBV) cases reported
  • Rape: One in five Kenyan women (21%) has expe­ri­enced sex­ual violence; 25% of girls aged 12-24 lost their virginity through forced intercourse; 60 % report the age of first abuse at 6-12 while 24% between 13 and 19.
  • Paedophilia and incest: 17 percent of Kenyan fathers have forced themselves onto their daughters

 

Possible Causes of Immorality

Given the disturbing state of affairs, it becomes important to understand factors that may be driving this perceived rise in immorality. The following are possible drivers of immorality in Kenyan society:

  • Anonymity of expression: Kenyans have plenty of channels through which they can not only admit to immoral behaviour, but also encourage immorality in others. Anonymous calls on radio shows and posts by pseudonyms on social media sites such as Twitter clearly illustrate that Kenyans are engaging in crime, corruption, promiscuity, drug abuse, hate speech and a host of other unsavoury behaviour. Under the blanket of anonymity, the rot in Kenyan society becomes clear for all to see.
  • Media:
  • Newspapers: Newspapers are the most widely read and circulated form of print media readily available to the Kenyan public. Yet this section of the media has been accused of focussing on, ‘politics, crime and middle-class values’.[2] Newspapers in Kenya seem to be particularly fond of political news and often seem to play a role in fanning the flames of dissent and discordance between political parties and their supporters. Although the newspapers played a key role in calling for peace during the post-election violence in 2008, they had been part of the powers responsible for deepening the divide between dissenting parties. Yet newspapers could be a force for good that calls for national cohesion and inter-political understanding and dialogue. Instead, they seem more focussed on sensationalising political news to generate sales. This has created a culture where politicians yell at each other through a news platform that will happily relay every insulting remark from one party to another creating a culture of bickering and confrontational politics. Promoting such values, deliberately or not, is not conducive for building healthy morals in Kenyans.
  • Radio: Certain radio shows in Kenya are known for the ‘dirty’ topics they talk about sometimes even the first thing in the morning. Such programming on radio shows seems to be immensely popular despite the fact that they address very adult themed topics during a time when children could be listening. So dire is the situation that in, May 2014, the Media Council of Kenya warned radio stations that air explicit adult material that they will face the law stating they had received complaints from parents who accuse the radio stations of airing immoral topics of discussions.
  • TV: If one turns on the TV at a certain point during the day, almost all of the free-to-air channels will have music videos with semi-naked women grinding and gyrating to the beat. This alongside storylines in popular Spanish language soap operas that seem determined to showcase infidelity, cruelty, manipulation and revenge actually make for popular viewing in many Kenyan homes. The paltry offering of wholesome entertainment appears to be creating a scenario where negative rather than positive role modelling has become the default setting on a great deal of programming available to the Kenyan public. Such programming may then be a culprit of enabling immorality in Kenyans.
  • Internet: The web is the most unregulated form of media access available to Kenyans with access to the internet. In a 2011 report by the Communication Commission of Kenya on internet service stated that increased access to the internet has led to rises in cases of internet addiction. Among the most popular sites for addicts were pornography. There are increasing cases of internet pornography addiction in Kenya especially among young people who view explicit materials on their mobile phones and computers. In fact, Pakistan and Kenya lead the world in searches for gay sex terms on the internet according to Google Trends.
  • Immorality in Public Leadership: Every day Kenyans wake up to cases of those in powerful positions, particularly in government, being linked to and suspected of participating in immoral activity that compromises the integrity of the docket they lead be it in the Judiciary, Treasury, Defence or any other public establishment. Although these cases usually centre on graft, other cases are more sinister. It is no longer shocking to hear of teachers, even Head Teachers in public schools, raping and impregnating young girls who were under their care. Yet such flagrantly wrong behaviour is rarely reprimanded let alone rectified. Such factors have led Kenyan citizens to have low levels of trust and confidence in public institutions.
  • Lack of national identity: Kenya is a young country, merely 50 years old and is a product of colonialism which placed different ethnic groups under one national umbrella. As a result, most Kenyans still primarily identify with their tribal origin rather than the national one. This predisposition sadly hasn’t been tapped into in a manner that fosters the appreciation of different sub- cultures and tribes; rather Kenya has become a nation virulently divided along tribal lines. This tribalism creates feelings of suspicion and even hatred of non-tribal members and undue favouritism for those who come from the same tribe. In 2007-2008 Kenya saw an explosion of violence along these ethnic lines and the country has yet to recover from it. Tribalism was used to fan immorality with murders, manslaughter, gang rapes and beatings inflicted on one tribe by another. These divisions remain deep with the possibility of negative consequences hanging heavily over the country.

Need for a Moral Regeneration Program

Given the sorry state of the moral fabric in Kenya rooted in an understanding of some of the different factors that inform this immorality, there is the need for a program specifically geared towards the moral regeneration of the people of Kenya. Kenyans should be encouraged to embody positive moral values such as honesty, responsibility, kindness, generosity, humility, integrity and other such values in a manner that elucidates the wisdom of espousing such values. The future of Kenya and the well-being of Kenyan children is at stake here. The need for moral regeneration is clear and present.

 

[1] (2014), Oxford Dictionaries

[2] Jack Bresli (2012), Whose Reality?: Ethical Reflections on Kenyan News Media,  Media Ethics,  Vol. 23, No. 2

In Response to Anyang Nyongo on NYS

In an article written by Anyang Nyongo’ in The Standard on June 28th he states that the NYS is a strategy for political mobilisation on behalf of the ruling coalition. This is essentially victimising an already vulnerable demographic group; the youth. Nyong’o seems to be stating that the youth in Kenya are inherently problematic and negative in disposition. What the NYS offers is the opportunity to develop skills and habits the youth can use to build productive lives. Why is Nyong’o making doomsday assertions that seem to indicate a fundamental disbelief in the positive potential of youth? Does he believe the youth are inherent trouble makers? Why is he criticising the fact that the government is bringing youth together to learn and evolve as Kenyan citizens? Why does he make the sinister assertion that youth coming together automatically creates paramilitary and troublesome ‘cells’? The current administration believes in the optimism of youth and their capacity to create a multitude of positive possibilities from the opportunities and skills they gain in the NYS. The real issue at hand seems to be a disgruntlement in Nyong’o that the latent power of the youth is being directed into constructive activities and that youth are no longer idle and therefore cannot be recruited in seditious activities orchestrated by the political opposition. Perhaps this bile is the resentment of the fact that the youth that are usually at the disposal of the political opposition to create political upheaval and instability are now being absorbed into more constructive activities. Further, as Nyong’o asserts, yes the government’s aim is to recruit more youth to the NYS because the current administration believes in providing opportunities for youth that seed positive self-evolution.  Nyong’o perhaps needs to come to terms with the fact that the latent potential in our youth that was previously harnessed to create political instability no longer exists and that the notion that youth are pawns in a political chess game has passed its ‘sell by’ date.

It also important to address another article published on the same day in The Standard, in which Raila Odinga accuses President Uhuru of shielding Anne Waiguru. This allegation makes it clear that Odinga, although he has been in government and should understand the way government processes work, has no understanding on the due process and procedures of addressing allegations and subsequent suspension of public officials. Without belabouring the point, Odinga should be aware of the fact that the EACC must first make a recommendation to the President before any deliberation of suspensions are entertained. The EACC has clearly seen no need to so to in Waiguru’s case. If anything, the CS was trying to streamline operations and in realising the attempt to siphon public funds, wrote to the CID. This essentialised her as a whistle blower; a fact that should be lauded not criticised. It is worth nothing that no other Minister has ever called on any agency to investigate shortcomings within their Ministry. So the truth of the matter is that the CS is playing her role in working together with the President to arrest corruption. Why is this being criticised? We stifle our ability to fight corruption if we victimise public officials who are open about problems in their Ministry. This culture of openness should be cultivated and not ostracised.

The tactics used by opposition are glaringly obvious and one does not require any esoteric political knowledge to surmise that the opposition has reached intellectual menopause as evinced in their rudimentary attempts to slander, smear and slur noble projects by the current administration that are proving to be effective.

Can We Engineer Society Into Voting For Women

With the August deadline drawing closer, the debate on how to achieve the 2/3 gender rule in parliament as stipulated by the constitution, has intensified.

Without having to expound on the anthropology of our patriarchal society, suffice it to state that the gender imbalance within our leadership is due to our beliefs. The focus then, should be on how we should shift societal attitudes and in doing so, adjust our voting patterns. Instead, the dominant discourse has been around how to structure legal/electoral frameworks so as to achieve this objective.

The emphasis on legislative reform to ‘force’ the electorate to vote for women runs the risk of tampering with the very ideals of democracy, and consequently, may prompt resistance from the populace. The approach should be multi pronged in that any modification to the legal framework, should go hand in hand with interventions to change behaviour.

My view is that if more weight is placed on the idea of social re-engineering, we’re more likely to hit the target. To do this, we must understand how human beings think. How irrational they are. And how predictably irrational they are.

Human beings are inherently sheep as far as behaviour is concerned. We automatically follow and do as others do. This phenomenon is colloquially referred to as herd mentality and a manifestation of this was in the recent quail saga that swept the country last year. This herd mentality underpins our ‘preference’ for male leadership given our patriarchal society. We could however, very easily shift perceptions by orchestrating what is to be perceived as normal. Women leadership, by getting more coverage, in the media for example, could be normalised. In showcasing women in power as the norm, people would generally be more inclined to vote for them.

As we persuade the electorate to vote for women, understanding what motivates people is crucial. Ordinarily, we incentivise by focusing on what is to be gained. But theories suggest that losses loom larger than gains. That is to say, the angst caused by loss does not equate to the pleasure induced by gaining something of equal measure. If we apply this to incentivising the citizenry to vote for women, it follows that we should focus on what is to be lost or missed out on by not having female leaders as opposed to what we could gain with more women in parliament.

We could even go as far as choice architecture at the ballot box. Suppose for instance, if on the ballot paper, the default choice was the woman candidate and voters had the option to opt out and select another candidate. Choice would still exist, but there would have been a gentle nudge to vote for the female candidate. Some would argue that such a tactic would be somewhat manipulative, but it would simply be a strategy to counter the cognitive bias against women leadership – thus neutralising factors (culture etc) that have influenced our choices in the first place.

Of course it would also be prudent to encourage women to put themselves up for leadership. To this end, we’d have to eliminate the bottlenecks and barriers that exist both extrinsically and intrinsically. This would entail ensuring that is both easy and attractive for a potential candidate to engage in elective politics. Educating on the process of the run up to leadership, and maybe, even introducing a kitty to fund election campaigns for women, would be one intervention that would perhaps cost less than introducing more seats to an already swollen parliament.

We are aspiring to something that is in crisis. Even good ideas fail.

Churchill famously remarked, ‘It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all’. And with that, we remained handcuffed to democracy with little or no discourse on alternative governance systems.  Of course this was a global agenda and drawing attention to potential pitfalls of the system was anathema for those that shape the zeitgeist.

Just as monopolies can emerge from capitalism, countering the free trade elements of capitalism, so can autocracies arise from democracy, negating from the notion of leadership for the people by the people. This seems to be the running evolution within democracies during the 21st century.  Democracies are losing their foundations and evolving towards an aristocratic regime as a small elite dominate decision making.

One reason for this crisis in democracy is globalisation.  Supranational obligations and international trade agreements take priority over domestic sentiments when government is formulating policy. A case in point being the Human Rights Act in the UK which was enacted to give effect to the European Convention on Human Rights ( a legal obligation for all EU member states). The Act has since exhibited absurdities as citizens use it to mitigate unfavourable circumstances. A notable example being the burglar given taxpayers’ money to sue the man whose house he broke into, relying on rights conferred to him by The Human Rights Act. Needless to state, no member of the electorate would vote for a parliamentarian who would advocate for this. A clear case of foreign governments influencing the internal politics of a sovereign country.

Furthermore, the immense power that corporates wield has an enormous impact on the lives of citizens.  With globalisation, these corporates can hold governments to ransom with threats of moving plants, factories etc to more industry friendly countries. With the potential result of mass job and tax losses within the state, a democratically elected government is pressurised to regulate industry with clemency towards corporates with regards to matters such as air pollution, minimum wage requirements and the general working conditions of the employee. Power ultimately shifts from government to corporations negating any gains from democracy as a system.

One cannot overstate the potential benefits of Public-private partnerships (PPPs), especially in a developing country where governments face constraints on public resources and fiscal space, and need the investment, technology and innovation availed by the private sector. But these PPPs have proved to antagonise the very ideals democracy is built upon. Part privatisation of services makes it almost impossible to assert democratic control (transparency and accountability) over the actors.

Media has also played a role in the crisis that democracy is facing. The fourth estate, which should serve to inform the public and in essence  hold power accountable and put to task the government of the day, is essential to a healthy democracy. The media, with its tremendous power to shape a nation’s political discourse, has in the 21st century become a monopoly, narrowing the range of voices and opinions being expressed in the mass media. In doing so, critical factors affecting society are ignored as the few media owning corporations and conglomerates shape the agenda.  Voters are left uninformed as to what the major issues are when making their choices at the ballot box.

This lack of information on the part of the electorate, is further exacerbated by the increased media preference to broadcast infotainment and celebrity news over informative discourse as they prioritise advertising revenue. Issues on which voters base their choices on, are convoluted essentialising the media as a distorting factor in democracy. This in turn culminates in the electing of leaders who don’t address matters that affect the livelihoods of the electorate.

The above discussed lists only but a few factors that distort democracy. The result; fewer people participate in politics, apathy prevails, xenophobic parties (eg UKIP) rise on the back of the growing discontent. People expect less from their vote. And politicians give people less for their votes. The outcome, a disenfranchised, disenchanted and despondent citizenry that is not represented by the current political system. In effect democracy stops working.

As Kenya develops, the base ingredients for the crisis democracy is facing in mature democracies, will inevitably surface. We are on a trajectory that will give rise to even more trade agreements as a region, corperates will transnationalise, public-private partnerships will increase (and need to), media houses will expand and conglomerates will emerge. We are in effect, headed for the same crisis, except unlike the mature democracies, we are equipped with the knowledge of the life-cycle of a democracy.

Blanket amnesty on corruption to stop corruption

I recently ignited a conversation on the viability of a blanket amnesty to all current corruption cases, as a strategy to fight corruption.

The proposition, although seemingly preposterous was hedged on theory drawing from behavioural science and thus human motivation to engage in corruption.

Solving all corruption cases is simply not feasible. Some cases are inherited from previous governments whilst others are so old witnesses have since died.  It is heavily speculated that the investigations themselves act as a diversionary tactic allowing for episodes of further corruption to go unnoticed. These investigations additionally serve to pacify the populace giving us a false sense of fighting corruption. Pumping resources into irresolvable quests is not only futile, but retrogressive and even detrimental.

For proponents of the current approach of pushing for prosecutions as a deterrent, it’s worth noting homicide cases in the US are highest in states within which capital punishment exists.

A reprieve on all existing cases would allow the government and the citizenry to shift their efforts and resources on to curbing future corruption.

There may also be some benefits in issuing a blanket amnesty. Following an absolution, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to anticipate an influx of investment into the country from those who were previously investing abroad in a bid to conceal their illegally acquired wealth.

The ubiquitous nature of corruption in Kenya has entrenched within us, a culture of corruption.  To change this, we must change behaviour. In ‘wiping the slate’ clean we adjust the contextual cues that encourage corrupt behaviour. An example of behavioural change being brought about by circumstantial change can be seen in the renewed vigour and optimism to fight corruption that was evinced countrywide when Kibaki initially took over.

As opposed to explicitly trying to persuade or dissuade people from engaging in corrupt activity, this approach shifts gears and instead shapes the context in which decisions to partake in corruption, are made.

An amnesty would ‘re-calibrate’, not just the government’s systems of dealing with corruption, but our attitudes as citizens towards corruption. Theoretically, for the period immediately following the amnesty, Kenya would transition from being one of the most corrupt countries in the world to the least corrupt country, even if momentarily.

The new norm would be a corruption free Kenya and we would have in essence created a novel situation which would in turn insure we think deliberatively about our behaviour and choice to engage in corruption.

Following a blanket amnesty, the ruthless application of draconian laws (applicable even to citizens for petty corruption) would be necessary to act as a deterrent to new culprits.

Counterintuitive as it may seem, this is the only solution. Inertia from the ongoing promises and efforts has left society anaesthetised and even willing to partake in corruption themselves. Unless something radical is done, we’re bound to find ourselves faced with a Minotaur, only, with no thread to unravel our way out of the labyrinth.

Judges not helping in efforts to counter terrorism

The High Court ruling was wrong

One requires no esoteric legal knowledge to ascertain that the recent high court decision to nullify clauses within the security bill, is not in keeping with the international efforts to fight terrorism.

In the ‘9/11 era’ citizens globally, have accepted a shift in the delicate balance between freedom and security, as governments put in place necessary regulations to provide for counter terrorism powers and offences.

With the underlying intent of ensuring terror attempts are successfully foiled and terrorists are kept behind bars, these regulations are have often been broad so as to avert any potential loopholes. This resolve to fortify the security of citizens explains why the Security Bill cast its net wide. However, in doing so, the legislation increases the tendency for absurdities to arise in the application of its provisions. It is these possible absurdities that form the premise for any rational resistance to the bill.

A lawyer for a terrorism suspect might be charged under the act for ‘advising’ a terrorist, for instance. A classic example of the very happenstance that statutory interpretation by the judiciary is designed to mitigate. By this week’s ruling, the courts are in essence admitting they cannot give effect to the intentions of the drafters of the legislation. We as citizens must be concerned with the courts inability to apply the law.

Terrorism is a multifaceted and highly complex criminal operation involving intricate transnational cells which facilitate financing, training camps and support networks. The obscurities of terrorism pose new challenges and require new thinking, new approaches, and new strategies to thwart what is inherently, ideological warfare.

It is incongruous that the courts deem it practical that counter-terrorist activities such as detention procedures, interrogation and the gathering of intercept evidence should be governed by the rules of criminal procedure, just as they would be in a non-terrorism context.

The ruling of the high court is riddled with irony. A case in point being the annulment of section 12 which places reasonable limitations on media houses broadcasting content considered to undermine investigations and security operations relating to terrorism. Courts themselves place restrictions on the media and in turn ‘press freedom’ if information propagation is judged to prejudice an ongoing case. One needn’t be a wary logician to reason that if court proceedings can be hampered by the media dissemination of information, then investigations concerning national security can too – with irreconcilable consequences.

At this juncture, it would be a detrimental oversight to not point out the undemocratic character of the Court’s decision. Not in the decision itself, but in negating the will of the people as manifested by the legislature in passing the bill. The legislature as an elected organ of government, is simply more legitimate, egalitarian and participatory than appointed judges. In overruling the actions of elected officials, the court frustrates the intentions of a democratic government.

Fortunately, there exists a supreme court, and for those obstructing efforts to counter terrorism, this ruling will be an ephemeral victory.