Court declines to block order on Covid jab

Monday, November 29th, 2021 00:00 | By
Justice John Mativo. PHOTO/COURTESY

The High Court has declined to stop the government’s order barring unvaccinated Kenyans from receiving basic services.

A directive by the State takes effect on December 21 and will require people seeking government services to be fully vaccinated and show proof of Covid-19 vaccination.

Mombasa High Court Judge John Mativo declined to issue prohibitory orders sought by a local lawyer, Mbarak Hamid Mbarak, until the petition before his court is heard and determined. Justice Mativo, however, certified Mbarak’s application as urgent and listed it for hearing on priority basis.

He noted that the rights Mbarak claims are under threat were not absolute rights, hence the need to hear the substantive petition to determine whether the impugned decision can pass an article 24 analysis test.

“Since the date set for implementation of the directive is not due, in conformity with the constitutional dictate in Article 159(2)(b) of the Constitution, it is my view that with the support and cooperation of all parties, it is possible to hear and determine this petition before the date set for implementing the decision,” he ruled.

In his application, Mbarak wants the court to prohibit and restrain the respondents, or their agents, from implementing, acting or enforcing the directives, measures and strategies that require persons seeking government services to be fully vaccinated and to show proof of vaccination.

The matter will be heard on December 15.

Last week, another lawyer moved to court to challenge the government’s directive on the jabs.

Winfred Ochieng, sought to have implementation of the directive temporarily stopped until the matter is heard. Cabinet Secretaries Mutahi Kagwe (Health) and Najib Balala (Tourism) issued the directive two weeks ago.

The directive requires citizens to be fully vaccinated to use public transport, including buses and domestic flights, or to enter hotels, bars, restaurants and game reserves. The Health ministry aims to vaccinate 100,000 people daily in a bid to rapidly boost vaccination rates.

At a joint press conference, Kagwe and Balala warned that those who do not produce a certificate to prove that they are fully immunised will also not access services in government offices.

“Everybody seeking in-person government services should be fully vaccinated and proof of vaccination availed by December 21,” Kagwe said. Such services, he said, will include Kenya Revenue Authority, Education, Immigration, hospital and prison visitation, National Transport and Safety Authority and port services among others.

Balala said measures will help slow the spread of the virus.

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