Court throws out case challenging curfew laws

Saturday July 11 2020

Police officers enforce the dusk-to-dawn nationwide curfew in the war against coronavirus, in Mtwapa, Kilifi County, April 9, 2020. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP


The Appellate Court has dismissed a case that challenged the constitutionality of the Interior CS and police chiefs placing the country or part of it  under a curfew.

The court rejected an argument by a lobby that two sections of the Public Order Act give the CS and police powers to curtail freedom and rights guaranteed by the Constitution.

“The curfew and restriction orders imposed under Section 8 and 9 of the Public Order Act are  subject to judicial oversight and therefore not devoid of checks and balances,” Justices Wanjiru Karanja, Fatuma Sichale and Jamilla Mohammed said Friday.

The court added that where public safety is at risk of being violated due to factors like terrorist attacks or insecurity, the limitation of the affected persons’ rights and freedom is justifiable, reasonable and necessary.

While upholding decision of the High Court to dismiss the petition filed by Haki na Sheria Initiative, the judges said the powers donated to the Cabinet Secretary and the police in imposing curfew are in line with the principles of national security.

The civil society organisation had argued that sections 8 and 9 of the Public Order Act are unconstitutional as they also provide for the imposition of curfew and restriction orders on certain groups.


Group coordinator Barre Adan criticised the High Court for not finding that the law is discriminatory and contrary to the Constitution, “which provides for equality before the law and the right to equal protection”.