Is the Kenyan Law Meant for the Meagre?

Photo: Milimani Law Courts, Nairobi. The government has disobeyed over five court orders in the past one month. (Image Courtesy)

Article ten of the Kenyan Constitution provides for National values and principles of governance. A person found to have violated these principles can be deemed to have failed the leadership and integrity test as provided in Chapter six of the same Constitution. In a case of a public officer, these values require that such an individual be declared unfit to hold public office.

Recent weeks have seen the superiority of Kenya’s legal system put into test when Justice George Odunga ruled that Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i, Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet and the Immigration boss Gordon Kihalangwa had defied article ten of the constitution and that the floor was open for any Kenyan citizen to file a petition for their removal from office. This is after they failed to adhere to several court orders issued by the High Court of Kenya against the mistreatment of one Kenyan born Miguna Miguna who is also a legal citizen of Canada.

The self-proclaimed National Resistant Movement (NRM) general was allegedly denied entry into the country from Canada where he had earlier been deported to in February 6th this year after he conducted a ghost swearing-in ceremony of the opposition chief Raila Odinga. Miguna has since been deported back to Canada for a second time after fruitless attempts to get back in Kenya. This happened after he spent days at the Dubai International Airport from where he said that he had been drugged out of Kenya’s Jommo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).

Ever since the unfolding of events in the Miguna chronicle in the beginning of this year, different civil societal groups have been up in arms to criticize the government over the inhuman treatment and illegal deportation against Miguna.

The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNHCR) through its Chairperson Kagwira Mbogori stated that they had tried to intervene in the Miguna case but the government’s breach of court orders was wanting. The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) vice president Harriet Chiggai affirmed that the legal department was concerned by the disregard for the law by the government. Can it therefore be stated that the laws in Kenya are meant for the common citizen and not those in power?

In my opinion, yes. The poor and underprivileged will continue to be held accountable and mistreated for committing crimes of less magnitude while mighty continue to enjoy the ‘freedom’ that comes with their positions in government. In fact, in Kenya, the common phrase, “equality before the law” should be wiped out in the laws that govern this country if at all we are divided on the basis of our status and position.

The mistreatment of the members of the fourth estate at JKIA was uncalled for since they had not violated any law in trying to document Miguna’s case. It is of no doubt that as at that time and even up till now, Miguna’s case is still of public interest.
The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) has initially asked Chief Justice David Maraga to hold the above mentioned public officers accountable for their unaccountability. The biggest truth is that this cannot happen especially in an era where Kenya is in its darkest part of democracy where the government remains ‘mighty and untouchable’. The fight for equality and protection of human rights has been left to the civil societies whilst their efforts continue to remain fruitless.

The allegations against CS Matiang’i, IG Boinnet and Immigration boss Kihalangwa are viable enough to prompt any public officer to exit office. However, in a regime where the mighty sail through the legal systems while the unprivileged wallow in jail terms that cannot be the case. Is the Kenyan law then meant for the meagre?

Leave a reply,comment or suggestion