The High Court has dismissed Attorney-General Paul Kariuki Kihara’s application to stop the implementation of an order requiring Interior CS Fred Matiang’i to review curfew orders and include lawyers and Independent Policing Oversight Authority (Ipoa) officials among essential service providers.
Justice Weldon Korir said allowing the AG’s application would amount to a mockery of justice, considering that the curfew is temporary.
The judge said the reason the court issued the directive compelling the CS to amend the curfew orders was premised on findings that police used unreasonable force in enforcing it.
He added that the April 16 order was meant to enable lawyers to reach out to clients in need of legal services during curfew hours, saying Ipoa could check on police excesses.
“The public interest would therefore easily tilt in favour of sustaining the orders issued by this court and rejecting the applicants’ prayer to have them suspended. There is no evidence that violation of rights during curfew hours has stopped,” Justice Korir said.
The government had argued that listing Ipoa officials and Law Society of Kenya (LSK) members as essential personnel would likely lead to a rise in coronavirus infections.
“The court did not tell LSK and Ipoa to breach the Ministry of Health mantra of washing/sanitising hands, wearing masks and keeping social distance. They will be expected to comply with the disease containment rules,” the judge said.
“The impression one gets from the applicant is that the few LSK members and Ipoa officers who ... operate during the curfew hours will be so suicidal that they will seek out the little blobs of liquid released as someone coughs, sneezes or talks so as to breathe in viruses.”