The High Court has temporarily halted the implementation of security measures on public gatherings issued by the National Security Advisory Committee on October 7, 2020.
The stringent measures that detail the requirements for public gatherings, media reporting and social media conduct were ratified by Cabinet on October 8, 2020.
The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) moved to court to challenge the advisory by the Joseph Kinyua-led committee arguing that they are unlawful and breach the right to assemble.
In a ruling delivered on Thursday, Justice Anthony Mrima issued a conservatory order restraining the Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai whether by himself or any police officer under his command from taking directives from the security committee or anybody pending the hearing and determination of the petition filed by LSK.
“Pending the hearing and determination of the petition a conservatory order is hereby issued suspending the directives issued by the National Security Advisory Committee on the 7th October 2020 and ratified by Cabinet on 8th October 2020 since the effect of the same directive is to direct the manner in which the IG or any of its officers under his command should carry out their constitutional and statutory duties, ” ruled Justice Mrima.
Good news Kenyans. The High Court has restrained IG of National Police Service from acting on directions from National Security Advisory Committee or anybody. Directives against public gatherings issued on 7.10.2020 suspended pending hearing and determination of Petition. ^POLSK pic.twitter.com/BVMbRzuPQm
— Nelson Havi (@NelsonHavi) November 12, 2020
Some of the regulations announced by the government require leaders intending to hold a public gathering to notify the Officer Commanding Station (OCS) of such intent 3-14 days before gathering.
The committee cited growing political tension that threatens peace, security and harmony as reason for coming up with the rules.
A section of the political class had argued the tough measures were aimed at stopping Deputy President William Ruto and his allies from holding rallies across the country to sell his 2022 presidential bid.
The DP was forced to cancel several rallies as police stormed and ejected supporters at a Nyamira school on October 8 where he was expected to preside over a fundraiser for local boda boda riders.
On November 4, President Uhuru Kenyatta suspended political gatherings for 60 days citing a surge in Covid-19 cases.
In a state of the nation address on from State House, Nairobi, the Head of State said anyone wishing to hold such meetings should do so in town halls and must observe all Covid-19 protocols including limiting the attendees to one-third of the sitting capacity and the wearing of face masks.