LSK Move to Counter Health Ministry Directive Fails

  • Law Society of Kenya (LSK) President Nelson Havi addresses the media on Monday, June 8, 2020
    Law Society of Kenya (LSK) President Nelson Havi addresses the media on Monday, June 8, 2020
    File
  • Nelson Havi-led Law Society of Kenya (LSK) suffered another setback when High Court dismissed a case the group had filed seeking to quash regulations by the Ministry of Health with regard to curbing Covid-19 disease spread.

    Particularly,  LSK wanted the government to halt the mandatory face mask directive which stipulated a Ksh 20,00 fine for individuals found flouting the rule.

    The society argued that the directive was illegal and would hurt poor Kenyans who were already affected by a shrinking and harsh economy. 

    However, Justice James Makau dismissed the case noting that LSK’s bid was against public interest and safety. He said allowing the prayers sought by LSK was tantamount to handing Kenyans a death sentence to walk around with.

    “The measures and steps undertaken under the Public Health (prevention, control, and suppression of Covid-19) should be supported for the good of all,” he said.

    The High Court Judge warned that revoking the directive would lead to a spike in Coronavirus cases which will endanger the lives of many Kenyans. 

    Health CS Mutahi Kagwe launches the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) Diagnostic and Reporting Centre, Nairobi in February 2020 as Health CAS Dr Mercy Mwangangi (behind) watches
    Health CS Mutahi Kagwe launches the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) Diagnostic and Reporting Centre, Nairobi in February 2020 as Health CAS Dr Mercy Mwangangi (behind) watches
    File

    “The measures and steps undertaken under the Public Health (prevention, control, and suppression of Covid-19) should be supported for the good of all," Makau ruled adding that the government was within its legal mandate to enforce a Public Health Act. 

    LSK had also raised concern with the cessation of movement and the dusk to dawn curfew issued by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

    The judge threw out their case directing that it would be irrelevant and uncalled for to blame the government for protecting Kenyan lives.

    “The use of a curfew order to restrict the contact between persons as advised by the Ministry of Health is a legitimate action. The government cannot be faulted for enforcing measures to slow down the spread of this novel disease.

    "For the curfew order to achieve its objectives and to be embraced by the public, it should not be seen as a tool of force. I think the main problem with the curfew order is how it has been implemented," Makau stated lashing out at police officers accused of extrajudicial killings and use of excessive force. 

    The decision by the High Court comes at a time Kenya is gearing up towards lessening cessation of movement and intercounty lockdown directives implemented in Nairobi and Mombasa.

    On Friday, June 26, President Uhuru Kenyatta disclosed plans to lift the lockdown adding that the nation would strictly adhere to the World Health Organisation's guidelines. 

    "We are opening the inter-county lockdowns," President stated during an online session the Corporate Council on Africa Leaders Forum on Friday, June 26.

    Police set up roadblocks isolating the Nairobi Metropolitan Area on April 7, 2020.
    Police set up roadblocks isolating the Nairobi Metropolitan Area on April 7, 2020.