By Abdi Ali
Published February 6, 2018
The flagrant flouting of court orders by the Government of Kenya undermines the basic concept of the rule of law.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) calls upon Kenyan police to ‘urgently produce Miguna Miguna, an opposition party lawyer who was arrested in Nairobi on February 2, 2018.
The rights body says that continuing to hold Miguna in defiance of two court orders to have him released is against the law that requires any accused person in Kenya to be brought to court within 24 hours.
“Kenyan authorities should urgently obey a court order to either release or produce Miguna Miguna in court,” says Otsieno Namwaya, Africa researcher at HRW.
Miguna, one of three people, others are two Members of Parliament, was arrested in the crackdown against those who participated in the oath of Opposition leader Raila Odinga as the People’s President of Kenya on January 30, 2018. Police have not only failed to produce Miguna in court in accordance with court orders on both February 2 and February 5 but both the Inspector-General of Police and the Head of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations who had been ordered to to personally appear in court to explain the circumstances under which Miguna is held, ignored the order.
Odinga, presidential candidate for the National Super Alliance (NASA) coalition, rejected Uhuru Kenyatta’s victory in the country’s presidential election, after a court ordered a rerun of the August 8 election on October 26, 2017.
Miguna and another lawyer, Tom Kajwang, swore in Odinga as “The People’s President” on January 30, 2018 on the basis of the August 8, 2017 election results, which Odinga and his NASA coalition insist they won.
The authorities also ignored a February 1, 2018 court order suspending the government shutdown of mainstream television and radio stations for allegedly planning to run live coverage of the Odinga swearing in against Kenyatta’s orders to the media.