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Government suffers another blow as High Court declares Covid-19 containment measures illegal

The High Court of Kenya declared the order by the National Security Advisory Committee’s (NSAC) on restriction and prohibition of public gatherings as illegal and unconstitutional.

The high court ruling was made on Wednesday, August 18, 2021 virtually by Justice Mrima in a case in which the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) filed a petition seeking to have the National Security Advisory Committee’s orders nullified.

The High Court ruled in favour of the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) and found that the National Security Advisory Committee (NSAC) and the Cabinet had violated the constitution of Kenya by limiting the right to the assembly under the Covid-19 pandemic containment measures in the country.

“A declaration be and is hereby issued that all the directives made by the National Security Advisory Committee on 7th October 2020, and rectified by the cabinet on 8th October 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 violation of Articles 10(2)(a) and 245(2)(b) of the constitution for the directing the law enforcement officers on how to discharge their duties.” the ruling read in part.

The court also barred Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai from enforcing the orders by National Security Advisory Committee, and prohibited the police from carry out the enforcement of the directive by the government.

The High court ruling came after the Law Society of Kenya had made a petition as the first petitioner with  the Attorney General and the Inspector General of Police being the the respondents.

The court judgment was signed and delivered on Wednesday, August 18, 2021 the same day that President Uhuru Kenyatta made  announcement of the banning of all gatherings with a view to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.

In his announcement, the Head of State extended Covid-19 containment measures for another 60 days, following advice from the National Emergency Recommendation Committee (NERC).

The President directed that all social gatherings including weddings, funerals and meetings be restricted to 100 people only.

President Uhuru also extended the curfew hours from 10.00 pm to 4.00 am for the period of two months.

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    Written by Kennedy Omondi

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