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Court dismisses case seeking to halt construction of LSK Arbitration Centre

By Standard Reporter | September 21st 2015
The architectural impression of LSK International Arbitration and Convention Centre building

Nairobi, Kenya: The High Court has dismissed a case seeking to stop construction of Sh1.2 billion the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) International Arbitration Centre over alleged sale of alcohol.

High Court Judge Justice Isaac Lenaola said, in his 41-page ruling, that constitutional rights of eight Muslim lawyers who filed the case had not been breached.

“I have found that Article 32 as read with Article 24 of the Constitution have not been violated,” Justice Lenaola ruled.

Article 32 of the Constitution provides for freedom of conscience, religion, belief and opinion while 24 provides for limitation of rights and fundamental freedoms.

Eight petitioners who described themselves as members of the Islamic faith and Group Muslim Lawyers Forum had moved to the High Court to stop the construction over alleged sale of alcoholic drinks.

They argued that the project would contain a bar that serves alcoholic drinks in violation of their belief/religion in violation of Article 32 of the Constitution.

“The right to practice and manifest a religion or belief is intensely personal to any individual and impacts on all aspects of life including an individual’s personal life,” Justice Lenaola said.

He said that the petitioners are all advocates of the Muslim faith – including Senior Counsel Ahmednassir Abdullahi who represented LSK in the matter.

“That they have taken divergent views on the matter only shows the great need for a court to balance individual positions on religion and belief and the rights of others,” Justice Lenaola said.

The Judge made a finding that a Resolution was passed during a Special General Meeting for members to contribute towards construction of the LSK International Arbitration Centre in South C, Nairobi.

Ahmednassir argued that construction of the arbitration centre has nothing to do with religious beliefs of the petitioners.

“The Court does not have powers to review or interfere with a resolution made by LSK members,” Mr. Ahmednassir argued.

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