Inside Politics

Court declines to stop Azimio demos

Tuesday, March 28th, 2023 05:50 | By
Former Nairobi Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko at the Milimani Law Courts. PD/CHARLES MATHAi
Former Nairobi Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko at the Milimani Law Courts. PD/CHARLES MATHAi

The Azimio leadership scored big yesterday after the High Court yesterday declined to stop ongoing mass protests.

Justice Hedwig Ong’undi further declined to order the Interior Cabinet Secretary and the Inspector General of Police to arrest the Azimio la Umoja leadership led by Raila Odinga for convening or taking part in the public demonstrations.

The judge who issued the ruling in a case filed by former Nairobi Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko noted that there was the principle of separation powers and it was not for the court to direct the two senior government officers in the security docket on their mandates on who to arrest and who not to arrest.

“It is the duty of regulating officers and their seniors to ensure compliance with the law is set out to avoid infringement of the rights of Kenyans during demonstrations,” noted the Judge.

Sonko in his suit papers named Raila, Kalonzo Musyoka, Martha Karua, Jeremiah Kioni among others as respondents in the case.

He claimed that the call for mass action countrywide has caused a lot of disruptions and affected a number of people not participating in the demonstrations.

Through his lawyer Harrison Kinyanjui, he argued  that a number of businesses, schools and properties had been affected and that every Kenyan has a right to protection of the law, which the court should uphold

Public demonstrations

He claimed that there are other dates slated for mass action, and if orders were not issued Kenyans would continue suffering. It is his case that the aftermath of the unlawful and unregulated public demonstrations every Monday has quickly metamorphosed and escalated into widespread precipitously unlawful behavior and display of wanton acts of arson, violence and lawlessness by his supporters.

“The arising necessity to issue Conservatory Orders due to the lawless acts of the purported “protesters” has provoked the making of this Application,” he says in court documents.

Public meetings

According to the former Governor, the purported open-ended exercise of the right to demonstrate pursuant to Article 37 of the Constitution of Kenya by Azimio La Umoja leadership and their followers every Monday manifestly borne no fidelity to the terms and prescriptions of the law governing Public processions.

Justice Ong’undi, while declining to issue the conservatory orders noted that Section 5 of the  Public Order Act, clearly sets out regulations for public meetings and processions.

“No person is allowed to engage in a public meeting or a public procession except in accordance with the provisions of the said section,” she noted.

She noted that Sections 6 and 11 of the Act also prohibit the possession of offensive weapons at public meetings and processions. “Enforcement of all these provisions falls within the docket of the security enforcement officers… It would therefore not be proper for these courts to appear to be setting out new regulations and policies which are not within its docket,” noted the judge.

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