High Court rules Covid-19 directives on public gatherings, restriction of movement unconstitutional
The High Court of Kenya has ruled that the Covid-19 containment measures on public gatherings and restriction of movement ratified by the Cabinet on October 8, 2020, are unconstitutional.
The directive had been issued by the National Security Advisory Committee (NSAC) on October 7, 2020, before being ratified by Cabinet.
Law Society of Kenya filed the petition arguing that security personnel cannot be directed on how to conduct their duties.
The Attorney General of Kenya and Inspector General of Police Service were respondents.
Justice Antony Mrima delivered the ruling on Wednesday, August 18, where he termed the move by NSAC to direct the Inspector General of police unconstitutional and a breach of the Constitutional of Kenya.
Justice Mrima noted that the Inspector General of Police and his officers cannot take orders from NSAC, any other person, organ or body since it is an independent body whose mandate is well stipulated in the Constitution of Kenya.
“A directive be and is hereby issued that all the directives issued by the National Security Advisory Council Committee on October 7, 2020, and ratified by the Cabinet on October 8, 2020, for the use of section 5 of the Public Order Act cap 56 of the Laws of Kenya to contain, restrict and prohibit public gatherings, meetings and processions in the name of combating Covid-19 and containing the weaponization of public gatherings are unlawful, unconstitutional and in violations of Articles 10 (2)(a) and 245(2)(b) and (4) of the Constitution for directing the law enforcement officers on how to discharge their duties,” ruled Justice Mrima.
Mrima further directed the Inspector General of Police or any police officer under his command to refrain from taking directives from the National Security Advisory Committee and or any other person, organ, body or entity that contravenes the constitutional mandate of the police IG and his officers.
The order was issued on the very day that President Uhuru Kenyatta reviewed Covid-19 measures.
The Head of State directed all National Government Administration Officers to ensure members of the public comply with the directives failure to which they will be held responsible.
"Responsibility and consequence for a breach shall be borne by the National Government Administration Officers in whose jurisdiction the breach occurs," President Uhuru instructed.