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Court declines to reverse mass action ban for Cord, lifts order on responsibility for losses

By Kurian M. Musa | July 8th 2014
Security personnel restrain Saba Saba supporters at the Uhuru Park, Nairobi. The group was among thousands participants that had attended the rally championed by CORD. [PHOTO BY PIUS CHERUIYOT]

NAIROBI, KENYA: High Court Judge Isaac Lenaola has declined to reverse his orders banning CORD from organising mass action.

Siaya Senator James Orengo had gone to court seeking the vacation of orders which had specifically banned calls for mass action at the rally.

The court, however, lifted the orders that the CORD leaders would be held responsible for any loss emanating from possible violence at the rally.

Justice Lenaola also warned against continued attack by the coalition's leaders, saying the court could cite CORD leader Raila Odinga and Mbita MP Millie Odhiambo for contempt of court and incitement for vilifying him after he issued the orders last week.

Lenaola told CORD lawyer Harun Ndubi, who was holding brief for Orengo, that his clients should restrain themselves from issuing disparaging statements against the court and the judge himself.

"You are aware of the social media attacks on this court especially by Millie Odhiambo and also that your clients said they would not follow court orders. I will issue orders on contempt against them if they disobey," Lenaola said.

Odhiambo had posted comments in her Twitter account commenting on the orders while Raila had publicly described the orders as retrogressive and likely to return the country to the dark days. According to Raila, the Executive manipulated the Judiciary to issue the orders.

ODM, Wiper and Ford Kenya lawyers had moved to court challenging the consent orders issued last Friday by Lenaola over the Saba Saba rally.

Through Orengo, CORD said the consent orders unconstitutionally equate mass action to violence. Under an urgent certificate in the Constitutional and Human Rights Division court, he wants a stay order of the Execution of the said consent orders issued on July 4.

Particularly, the suit had sought to remove any responsibility from the CORD leaders for losses and damage of property that may occur during their rally.

Orengo said he was instructed to lodge an appeal on Friday's ruling by Justice Lenaola that barred his clients from mass action.

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