, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 16 – The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) on Thursday threatened legal action against Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo should he extend the Lamu curfew beyond October 23.
LSK Chairman Eric Mutua said the curfew was violating the right of Lamu residents to earn a living as well as their freedom to associate.
“This curfew violates the right of Lamu residents to provide for their families. The fishermen prefer to fish at night and that is their right. Lamu is also primarily a tourist destination. Yet what message is Kimaiyo sending out to the world? Is he saying that he is incapable of restoring law and order in the coastal county after four months? Would you vacation in a spot where your freedoms are restricted?” Mutua posed.
Mutua continued to state that curfews, by their very nature, are meant to be short lived, “not extended month after month.”
Kimaiyo imposed the dusk to dawn curfew in July following the killing of over 60 persons in raids the government has blamed on the illegal acquisition of large tracts of land in the county by unscrupulous individuals who disenfranchised the indigenous population.
He has since extended the curfew twice, the last time being in September for the reason that, “we are still conducting security operations in the county.”
The LSK however accused Kimaiyo and his officers of using the curfew as a cover to perpetuate extra-judicial killings and human rights violations.
Violations, Mutua said, that have likely taken place given the preliminary findings of an LSK investigation initiated at the behest of Lamu residents and their Governor Issa Timamy.
“The governor, who himself is a lawyer, is concerned over the illegality of the never ending curfew,” Mutua reported.
He therefore said the LSK was giving Kimaiyo 14 days within which to lift the curfew or face litigation.
Kimaiyo has however previously explained that those suspected to be behind the raids took advantage of the vast Boni forest and their knowledge of its terrain, to evade security forces.
Security forces – including the Kenya Defence Forces – he said, needed time to comb through it.
Muslims, led by Leader of the Majority Aden Duale, had also taken issue with the curfew when it was first announced arguing that it would interfere with their routines during the month of Ramadan.