Court revokes ban on cash aid to public hospitals in Mombasa

Mombasa Governor Abdulswamad Shariff Nassir during a briefing at his office in Mombasa County on Friday 31 March 2023. [Kelvin Karani, Standard]

The High Court has suspended a decision by the Mombasa County government to bar donations or financial aid for patients treated at public health facilities.

The county also prohibited the hospitals from accepting any help.

On Thursday, Lady Justice Olga Sewe in Mombasa suspended the directive issued on April 20, by the administration of Governor Abdulswamad Shariff Nassir, to the heads of the Department of Health of the county.

This is after an activist, Julius Ogogoh, challenged the directive saying it had thrown many health facilities that used to run on aid from well-wishers into disarray.

Mr Ogogoh, the Executive Director of the Commission for Human Rights and Justice, said it was irresponsible for the county to pass such a directive given that nearly half of the population is poor and lives on less than a dollar a day.

“In a county where morbidity is 20 per cent, access to services is key and the irrational and arbitrary decision by the executive goes against the rights of the citizenry as enshrined in the constitution,” he said.

In an application filed on May 16, 2023, Ogogoh sought leave to institute judicial review proceedings to challenge the “arbitrary, irregular, and illegal directives" issued by Mombasa County’s executive.

“The county executive acted ultra vires, arbitrary and maliciously by usurping powers donated by the National Government by the Fourth Schedule of the Constitution of Kenya by formulating a policy without following the laid down procedures,” said Ogogh.

Justice Sewe suspended the directive and allowed Ogogoh to file a substantive judicial review to quash the policy.

Justice Sewe said the application by Mr Ogogoh was warranted. It is not clear from the court papers what triggered the decision by Governor Abdulswamad Nassir’s administration.