4 July 2014

Kenya: High Court Ruling On Saba Saba Rally Unconstitutional, Says Raila

Photo: Jack Owuor/The Star
Opposition leader Raila Odinga (left) with President Uhuru Kenyatta share a light moment (file photo).

Cord leader Raila Odinga has said that the coalition will ignore a ruling delivered by the Nairobi High Court barring them from calling for mass action during the planned Saba Saba rally scheduled for July 7.

Raila has termed the ruling as Kenya moving backward and giving reason for the calls for national dialogue to be heeded.

"Rulings like the one issued against Cord today only fortify our concern that Kenya is marching backwards to the dark era, instead of forward to a happier, freer society that we long desired and fought for," Raila said in a letter addressed to Chief Justice Willy Mutunga.

Raila added that the ruling was a breach of Article 37 of the Constitution which allows picketing and demonstrating, and further took issue with the judgement that the Cord principals would be held liable for any undesirable outcome as a result of the rally.

"Further, against all principles of Constitutional law, dictates of responsibility of government and basic common sense, the court has purported to create a hitherto unknown legal responsibility for the conveners of an assembly to be personally liable for the independent personal conduct of all attendees," Raila said adding that this is a show of impartiality by the judiciary.

Raila also said that Kenyans have put their faith in the judiciary and in the CJ to restore the constitutionalism that he said was abused in the years past and to restore, preserve and protect their liberties against all threats from the state.

"We hope that this matter will receive your urgent attention and intervention. The Constitution is on our side," the former Prime Minister said.

The High Court on Friday gave Cord the go-ahead to hold their Monday Saba Saba rally, but barred the opposition form calling for mass action and warned that they will be held accountable for any disturbance.

Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko had filed an application with the High Court to have the rally stopped on the grounds that it was likely to raise the already high political tension.

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