Kenya: Police Give Truckers Green Light for Anti-SGR Demonstrations

11 November 2019

Police have allowed truckers to demonstrate against a government directive that all cargo from the port of Mombasa be transported by the standard gauge railway.

Through a consent recorded in court between the parties, the demonstrators will have to give notice before protests as required by law.

"The respondents herein undertake not to prevent petitioners from holding processions in future provided notice is given as required by law," the consent states.

ORDER ADOPTED

Justice Eric Ogola at the High Court in Mombasa adopted the consent as an order of the court and closed the case file.

The transporters were challenging the decision by the police not to allow them to hold protests.

In their petition, they argued that on October 23, when they notified the police of their intention to hold a procession, the officers withheld notices until October 25 when they said no permit will be granted.

Through lawyer Yusuf Aboubakar, the truckers argued that the county police commander and officers in charge of Makupa and Changamwe police stations said they will prevent them from holding the procession.

REQUEST FOR SECURITY

"The petitioners had requested the police to provide security and ensure the procession was held in accordance with the law and there was no indication of a possible breach of peace as the petitioners had held similar processions before without incident," the petition stated.

The petitioners -- Ahmed Omar, Dennis Ombok, Mohamed Ahmed, Albert Adembesa and Shipeta Hezron -- have formed a lobby known as Fast Action Business Community Movement and sued the Attorney-General, Ministry of Interior, Inspector-General of Police, county police commander and the officers in charge Changamwe and Makupa police stations.

The petitioners said police can only prevent a person from holding a procession if someone else has already applied to hold a procession on the same date and time.

The petitioners argued that their sovereign rights of directing government on policy formulation or application had been denied.

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