Kenya: LSK to Petition Court Over State Curfew

Nairobi — The Law Society of Kenya is set to petition the court over the constitutionality of the 7pm to 5am State Curfew that took effect on Friday, following a declaration by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

LSK President Nelson Havi said he has sought the court's guidence on filing the case to protest the curfew's implementation "which to unjustified police brutality to a section of Kenyans."

"I have already communicated my intention and I am waiting for the court's feedback," he told Capital News on Saturday.

The courts are operating online after Chief Justice David Maraga ordered all the Judiciary's staff to work from home, as prt of measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

In the petition, Havi has listed Attorney General Kihara Kariuki and Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi as the first and second respondents respectively.

Havi's petition follows condemnation from different constitutional and human rights bodies and leaders who have also voiced concerns in the manner in which police enforced the curfew order.

Deputy President William Ruto has urged the police to "act firmly but with restrain and civility" during the curfew period that remains indefinite.

He wrote on his tweeter handle on Saturday even as he encouraged Kenyans to take the curfew seriously noting that it is aimed to prevent the spread of coronavirus that has so far infected 31 people in the country and killed one.

The Council of Governors has also asked the National Police Service Commission to enforce the dusk to dawn curfew in a humane manner.

The organization's chairman Wycliffe Oparanya described Friday's incidences of police brutality as unwarranted and emphasized the need for the rule of law to be followed.

He cited the incident at the Likoni Channel crossing where police lobbed tear gas on those trying to access the ferry on their way home, events that subsequently led to chaotic scenes.

"The police abused and violated members of the public and the media by hitting, kicking and teargassing them. Some women were even laying on the ground vomiting. This is unacceptable," he said in a statement.

He regretted that during the scuffle and the excessive force applied by the police witnessed a total disregard of the social distancing rules that has been outlined by the Ministry of Health as part of the precautionary measure that is aimed to keep the virus at bay.

'Kenyans were hoarded together like animals exposing them to possible infection of the virus in the event that there was anyone with it," he said.

He at the same time urged employers to release their employees on time at least by 4pm to avoid the recurrence of such events.

The police have in the meantime maintained that the curfew will remain enforced with the police spokesperson Charles Owino warning that those found violating the directive will be dealt with accordingly.

"Kenyans should not be lied up. There is no shortcut, the war we have is between us and the disease. We have enough cells and we will take anyone we find to violating the order," he said during an interview with Citizen Television.

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