High Court in Nairobi has declined to stop Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition Party supporters from taking to the streets to protest.
Justice Hedwig Ong’udi in her ruling in a case filed by former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko stated that the constitution and regulations are clear on how protests and picketing should be conducted.
She stated that it is upon the leaders of such processions to notify police bosses of the area where the assembly will start and end.
The judge said that it is, however, illegal to carry weapons or other items meant for harm and the police should arrest anyone with the weapons. Justice Ong’udi said that the court has no powers to direct the Cabinet Secretary in charge of the Interior Ministry and the police on what they ought to do.
“It is not for this court not to direct the police on who to arrest and not to arrest. There are regulations on public meetings and processions. No one is allowed to attend the processions and the regulating officers must be notified about the meeting. Enforcement of these falls in the docket of the police officers. Therefore, the court, will not be setting new regulations that are not within its docket. The court cannot direct the police to do its work. I do not find the orders sought is not merited,” said Justice Ong’udi.
Justice Ong’udi allowed Sonko to amend his case to include Raila’s new declaration for the protest on Mondays and Thursdays. She said that there were no new claims that had been raised in Sonko’s amended case.
“It is evident that the amended petition retains the essence of the contention. It is discernible that the petition intended to stop the protests. I find that the notice of motion does not introduce new issues,” said Justice Ong’udi.
Sonko initially challenged a declaration that March 20, 2022, was a public holiday.
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After the day passed without the court issuing the orders, he amended his case, seeking to now bar Azimio supporters from going to the streets on Mondays and Thursdays.
She directed Sonko to serve Azimio leaders and appear before her on April 3, 2023, to set a date for a hearing.
However, his lawyer Harrison Kinyanjui insisted that the court should intervene as children are not going to school and businesses have been shut.