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Take school reopening case to the High Court, AG says

By James Omoro | October 24th 2020

Attorney General (AG) Kihara Kariuki (pictured) wants a case challenging the re-opening of schools moved from a magistrate’s court to the High court. Through lawyer Sarah Jumma, the Attorney General yesterday said the magistrate's court lacks powers to rule on the matter.

“This court lacks jurisdiction to handle this matter. It is only the High Court that has the jurisdiction to hear a case of this nature,” Jumma told Ruth Maloba, the Homa Bay principal magistrate.

Two human rights activists, Michael Kojo and Evance Oloo, have filed the suit demanding a suspension of the ongoing learning that started on October 12.

Kojo and Oloo filed the case on October 7, 2020 seeking to compel Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha to stop the re-opening of schools on grounds that the safety of learners could be at risk. 

 “The application is bad in law and is short of any legal basis,” Jumma said. The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) has also supported Kariuki's demand. Through its legal advisor Allan Sitima, the teacher's employer said the case has been filed in the wrong court and should be dismissed.

Kojo has countered the AG's assertions arguing that the High Court should only play a supervisory role on lower courts. “The magistrate court can also issue orders related to health matters,” Kojo said.

The activists argued that the Ministry of Health failed to certify whether schools are safe for learning. Maloba said she will make a ruling on November 5, 2020 to determine whether the case will proceed at the magistrate’s court or in the High Court.

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