Kenya: Lawyers to Boycott Courts Over Disobedience By State Officers

Law Society of Kenya President Isaac Okero.
11 February 2018

Nairobi — Lawyers will from Monday begin a week-long boycott of the courts to protest the violation of rights and disobedience of orders by State and public officers.

Law Society Kenya (LSK) President Isaac Okero announced that the nationwide Yellow Ribbon Campaign will not affect election petitions which are subject to strict timelines.

Okero cited recent cases in which the government ignored High Court orders to switch on signals for KTN, NTV, Citizen and Inooro TV while the National Police Service defied orders to release self-declared National Resistance Movement (Kenya) General Miguna Miguna.

"It should always be the government that demonstrates to the citizens, by its example and conduct, the importance of strictly adhering to and respecting the law. When a government shows contempt for the law it becomes impossible for it to require citizens to respect the law," Okero said in a statement at the weekend.

LSK will unveil a Yellow Ribbon Memorandum which shall be a collection of information from its members of court orders willfully disobeyed and rights violated by State officers.

Okero said every lawyer will be required to wear a yellow ribbon during the boycott period which shall culminate in protests on Friday.

Lawyers at every court station in the country will be required hold discussion sessions on obedience and enforcement of court orders and the importance of universal adherence to the rule of law on the day of the protests.

Chief Justice David Maraga on Wednesday released a statement stating that disobeying court orders is inimical to the rule of law.

This came as Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet and Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) George Kinoti defied orders to release the NRM firebrand from police custody.

"Magistrates and judges have liberty to invoke legal avenues available to enforce orders. The recent disregard of court orders is an act that is not only inimical to the rule of law but also completely at odds with Kenyans' constitutional rights," Maraga.

He reminded the State officers that they took an oath of office to protect and uphold the constitution so disobeying it will attract penalties.

"Neither is it a favour to be doled out to the judiciary. Rather, it is a crucial matter of constitutional and civic obligation."

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