Lobby loses bid to block Joho order on building colours

Monday June 25 2018

The county government of Mombasa ordered owners of residential and commercial buildings in the city's CBD to paint them painted with a uniform colour. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP


Governor Hassan Joho’s executive order requiring residential and commercial buildings in Central Business District(CBD) be painted with a uniform colour will remain after court declined to issue orders suspending it.

Resident Judge Erick Ogolla declined to suspend the governor’s directive saying the court cannot issue orders in a vacuum.

“Why should I give orders and yet parties who will be positively or negatively affected are not stated? An application of this nature is going nowhere,” the judge said.

Justice Ogolla said the court could not grant orders sought when the Commission For Human Rights and Justice (CFHRJ), the applicant, failed to state parties for which it was agitating for rights in the application.

“I decline to grant stay orders sought because the applicant, which is a human right body, has not identified a single party whose right was infringed on or going to be affected, an order cannot be given in space,” the judge said.

He, however, granted the human rights leave to file the main application which shall not operate as a stay within 14 days. CFHRJ through its executive director Julius Ogogoh had asked the court to suspend and quash Mr Joho’s executive order terming it discriminatory and against the law.


The group wanted “an order that the notice restricting building to have uniform colours be permanently stayed and that for the court to issue consequential orders and direction the court may deem fit to grant,”

Mr Ogogoh argues that the notice is unprocedural, a clear breach of principle of natural justice and amount to abuse of the legal process and likely to deny proprietors the right to choose colours for their business.


Under a certificate of urgency, the group said the directive was ill advised and wrong as it does not fall within the law and that building owners were denied opportunity to be heard.

In court papers, the lobby argued that the directive was likely to affect proprietors and companies renting the buildings as they all have different choices on colours for their businesses.

Mr Joho’s administration had directed that all buildings be painted white with blue colour - which symbolises the Indian Ocean.

According to the order, all buildings are to be painted in white with Egyptian blue border on the edges and windows above without any sign written on the wall or canopy.

But the human rights group argued that the directive is in bad taste and likely to interfere with businesses as many companies have choices on colours and or branded colours depending on services they are offering.

The group further says that it is illegal to restrict colours to be painted on private buildings, arguing that no explanations were given for the issuance of the said notice as required in law.

“The notice was issued in total disregard to proprietors’ choices of colours and or trade mark, which are specifically designed to advertise particular business premises,” Mr Ogogoh said.

The governor had directed the CBD and Old Town to be painted in uniform colours to promote culture, preserve heritage and promote the county as a tourism hub.