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Kenyan lawyers protest state's disregard for law

Kenyan lawyers protest state's disregard for law
Hundreds of lawyers urge Kenya’s top court to take action against state officials who continue to violate law

By Andrew Wasike and Magdalene Mukami

NAIROBI, Kenya (AA) - Hundreds of lawyers took to the streets in capital Nairobi on Thursday in protest against violations of rule of law by state officials.

The protest comes in the wake of arrest and deportation to Canada of Miguna Miguna, a dual national Kenyan lawyer and opposition supporter.

Miguna is the self-proclaimed general of the National Resistance Movement, which was formed by Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga from his National Super Alliance political movement.

Kenyan media houses have been off air for at least a week after they aired the mock inauguration of Odinga; a court order calling for the outlets to return to air was also being ignored by the government.

Odinga has rejected Uhuru Kenyatta’s victory in last October’s elections and has vowed to pressure the government until the president steps aside, clearing the way for what he calls “free, fair and credible elections”.

Moreover, the government has suspended the passports of at least 14 other opposition politicians.

The lawyers, who carried placards with the words “Government Obey Court Orders”, urged Kenya’s top court to take action against state officials who continue to violate the law.

Lawyer Mercy Wambua, chief executive officer of the law society of Kenya, accused the government of breaking laws.

“It is quite unfortunate because the government has the highest responsibility through the president of the Republic of Kenya who has sworn to uphold the rule of law, so the government must respect court orders and must uphold the rule of law and must obey the law,” Wambua said.

In a ruling on the sidelines of the lawyers’ protest, Justice Luka Kimaru revoked the deportation of Miguna, terming it illegal and directed the government to surrender his passport to the High Court within seven days to facilitate his return.

Miguna’s lawyer Edwin Sifuna said: “This morning we went before the high court and all of those agencies [police, department of immigration and the Interior Ministry] that I have mentioned have been found in multiple contempt of court orders and have been directed to purge that contempt by ensuring that they return Miguna Miguna to Kenya.”

In a statement made through Karanja Kibicho, principal secretary in the Interior Ministry, the government said the ruling by Justice Luka Kimaru “is not in the best interest of the country” and vowed to appeal against it.

source: News Feed
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