President Uhuru Kenyatta has extended the ban on political rallies for two months to check spread of Covid-19.

The High Court has declared the ban on public gatherings and processions as a containment measure to curb COVID-19 illegal.

The directive, which was set out last year by the government was challenged by the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) through a petition filed in court last year.

“All the directives made by the National Security Advisory Committee on 7th October 2020 and ratified by the Cabinet on 5th October 2020 for the use of section 5 of the Public Order Act Cap 56 of the Laws of Kenya to contain, restrict and prohibit public gatherings, meetings, and processions in the name of combating Covid-19 and containing the weaponization of public gatherings are unlawful, unconstitutional and in violation of Articles 10(2)(a) and 245(2)(6) and (4) of the Constitution for directing the law enforcement officers on how to discharge their duties,” ruled Judge A. C Mrima.

The High Court also issued an order restraining the Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai or any officer from taking directives from the said National Security Advisory Committee.

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The ruling came even as President Uhuru Kenyatta announced a review of new measures aimed at combating the spread of COVID-19 which included a further suspension of all public gatherings including political rallies and campaign meetings for two months.

The President also extended the 10pm to 4am nationwide curfew for the same period.

“All other social gatherings, including weddings, celebrations of marriage, or traditional unions, ceremonies of rites of passage, funeral/cremation ceremonies and all other similar events or ceremonies shall strictly adhere to the 100-person attendance limit as prescribed,” Mr Kenyatta said.

The Head of State noted that recent reports have shown increasing Covid-19 infections across several counties due to a breach of the set curbs.

At the moment, a total of 18 counties have recorded a positivity rate above 20 per cent, and over the last week, Kiambu, Nyandarua, Murang’a, Makueni, Machakos, Baringo, Meru, and Nyeri counties have recorded a positivity rate of above 30 per cent.

President Kenyatta further directed that places of worship continue to adhere to the one-third rule for in-person worship, and that bars, restaurants, and eateries continue operating with guidance from the Ministry of Health, or risk action against management, staff and patrons.

He ordered all security sector agencies to ensure that organizers and or individual leaders, including senior public sector officials and political leaders, take personal responsibility and are held to account for any violation of the measures.

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