In Kenya, it is only the government that can disobey court orders and get away with it. Even as Interior secretary Fred Matiang’i today defended government over the lawlessness that it exhibited last week while handling the Miguna deportation saga, here is a list of the court orders the Kenyan government has disobeyed.
Over 22,000 retired teachers, some of who are now dying as they wait for the government to honor a court order to pay them their dues from as far back as 2007. Ten years later, and even contempt proceedings against the director of pensions and the Teachers Service Commission (TSC), have not jerked the government into action.
Iranian terror suspects:
Supreme court ordered on February 23, 2018, the government to treat Sayed Nasrollah Ebrahim and Abdolhosein Gholi Safaee, accused of terrorism, in a human way and should have their rights not violated. The highest court in the land said they should be within the country. But despite being free, they remain languishing in the Anti-terror Police Unit cells.
The two now want the court to find the Inspector General Joseph Boinnet in contempt and be jailed for six months.
At the height of the TV shutdown following the controversial swearing in of Raila Odinga as the people’s President on January 30, a High Court in Nairobi ordered the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) to restore live transmissions.
These orders would be ignored. The government only switched the television stations back on air at its own time. Besides, the communications authority refused to receive the court orders as would be expected from any other law-abiding citizen.
Communications Authority Fiasco:
Its boss, Francis Wangusi, who had been away when the TV shutdown had been effected, would also have a test of his own medicine when the same institution refused to receive court orders returning him back to his office after a fallout with the board.
Nyayo house torture case:
Former Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho was sentenced to three months jail term for disobeying a court order to pay a Nyayo house torture victim. Justice George Odunga while passing the sentence had ordered Inspector General of Police Joseph Bonnet to arrest Kibicho and hand him over to Industrial Area Prison to start serving the sentence. Despite the order, Mr. Kibicho was never been arrested.
Destruction of a ship
Former Interior Cabinet Secretary, the late Joseph Nkaissery was found guilty of contempt by a Mombasa court for disobeying a court order stopping the destruction of a ship which was to be used as an exhibit in a drug-related case.
Five principal secretaries:
Last year Justice John Mativo then serving at the Nyeri High Court sentenced five principal secretaries-John Mosonik (Infrastructure), Wilson Irungu (Transport), Mariamu El Maawy (Lands), Aidah Munano (Housing and Urban Development), and Dr Paul Mwangi (Public Works) to serve six months in civil jail for disobeying court orders. However, the senior government officials did not end up in jail as ordered by the court.
Senior Deputy Solicitor-General Muthoni Kimani was found guilty of contempt of court for failing to pay a victim of torture Sh4.7 million. She, however, escaped jail after the judge released her on a Sh1 million personal bond.
Gaming operators have also in the recent past had to come face to face with government officials defying court orders.
This is after more than 300 operators of gaming machines went to court seeking orders to stop the state from confiscating their machines.
Despite securing the orders in 2016, police continued to harass them and even arresting them to arraign them in the same courts whose orders they have disobeyed.
NGO Coordination Board:
Last December, the employment and labor relations court stopped the government from renewing the tenure of controversial executive director of the NGO Coordination Board, Fazul Mohamed, whose contract ended on November 23 has remained in office for several months. He would exit at his own time.
Miguna Miguna circus:
Government officials must have lost count of how many court orders it has disobeyed on the Miguna Miguna saga.
The crackdown following the swearing in of opposition leader Raila Odinga saw the government isolate some of the figureheads and target them. Despite rushing to court and getting orders, the government went ahead with the purge.
Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet, whose institution is supposed to enforce law and order, disobeyed a court order directing him to release the lawyer.
The High Court had ordered the police boss to be released Miguna on a cash bail of Sh50,000. It is not the only order Boinnet ignored. He did not appear in court in person as directed by Justice Luka Kimaru.
The disobedience of court orders go as high up as the office of the Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i.
February 6, 2018, at 11.00 am
Justice Luka Kimaru orders the government to release Miguna on Sh50,000 anticipatory bail. The government disobeyed these orders and instead rushed him to the Kajiado law courts and charged him
February 6, 2018 at 3.00pm
Miguna’s lawyers returned to Justice Luka Kimaru and informed him that the police were still holding their client. The Judge orders the Inspector General of Police and DCI boss George Kinoti to produce Miguna Miguna to court in person. But instead of obeying these orders, they whisked him to the airport and deported him.
February 15, 2018
Frustrated by the fiasco, Justice Kimaru again orders the immigration boss and interior CS to surrender Miguna’s passport to the court. Instead, they perforate his passport and present it to the judge. A perforated passport, in essence, cannot be used as a travel document.
February 26, 2018
Justice Chacha Mwita on his part orders the state to facilitate Miguna’s re-entry into Kenya. This too has been disobeyed.
March 27, 2018
Justice Roselyne Aburili orders Miguna’s release from the airport and be produced in court in person but the government again failed to comply.