LSK files petition challenging new gov’t restrictions for public gatherings

Nelson Havi
LSK President Nelson Havi. PHOTO | FILE

The Law Society of Kenya has filed a petition challenging the new security measures issued by the National Security Advisory Council (NSAC) and approved by the Cabinet to regulate public gatherings.

Among the measures issued out last week is a requirement that leaders intending to hold a public gathering must notify the Officer Commanding Station (OCS) of such intent 3-14 days before gathering.

Among the orders the Law Society of Kenya is seeking include orders restraining the Inspector General of Police, acting by himself or agents under his command, from seeking to license or holding of public gatherings, meetings and processions, banning, disrupting or interfering with peaceful public gathering, meetings and processions of LSK.

“It is just and lawful that the conservatory orders sought are granted, ”reads court papers

The lawyer’s body has named Attorney General and Inspector General of National Police Service as respondents in the case.

According to the LSK, enforcement and implementation of the directives issued by the security council will violate the rights freedoms of LSK and its members.

Last week the Cabinet approved a raft of security measures announced by Head of Public Service Dr. Joseph Kinyua on requirements for public gatherings, media reporting and social media conduct as a remedy to what was termed as “unchecked utterances and political weaponization of political gatherings.”

LSK further claims that the directives made to restrict public gatherings do not create a dichotomy between excluded meetings and those meetings which require permission.

They want the court to determine whether the directives made by the National Security Advisory Committee on 7th October 2020 and ratified by the Cabinet on 8th October 20202 for the use of Section 5 of the Public Order Act Cap 56 of the Laws are “unlawful, unconstitutional and in violation of the constitution.”

Further they want the court to determine whether the directives have been used discriminatorily and selectively to suppress divergent opinions.

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