NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 12 – Deputy President William Ruto Sunday warned public officials acting in contempt of court orders saying they will be held individually accountable for their actions.
Ruto said disobedience of court orders was setting Kenya on the verge of sliding into anarchy and impunity.
“The slide to anarchy and impunity will begin the day we don’t respect the rule of law and court orders in our country,” the DP who was speaking in Olerai, Narok County, stated.
“Every citizen, every public officer has a duty to ensure that the rule of law is not sabotaged in any manner by anybody, anywhere.”
The sentiments came against the backdrop of the refusal by the police to free Gatundu South lawmaker Moses Kuria, who was arrested over assault on Friday, on bail even after his lawyers led by Dr John Khaminwa secured bail from a Milimani Magistrate Court.
Kuria was eventually released Saturday night after posting a Sh20,000 police bond, authorities having declined to free him on the Sh50,000 cash bail Khaminwa had secured from Milimani Senior Principal Magistrate Kennedy Cheruiyot.
The lawmaker, a diehard supporter of Ruto blamed his detention on State officers he said were out to suppress political competition.
“I belong to the wing where I am in alliance with the DP Ruto and if that is the reason why I was arrested then I am not afraid and ashamed to be arrested again. We are seeking for power and we are going to form the next government and we have no excuse and regrets on that,” Kuria told reporters upon his release from police custody at the Kilimani Police station.
Willy Mutunga, the immediate former Chief Justice, ventilated on the matter on Saturday, terming police actions as, “an unacceptable repeat of the inhumanity of the past and present dictatorships.”
“What’s happening to Miguna MIGUNA and Moses KURIA and many other victims of the disobedience of court orders is the inhuman mischief our Constitution sought to cure and heal,” he tweeted.
Mutunga added it was, “equally sad that those who opposed it have joined it, thereby strengthening the dictatorship,” referring to opposition lawmakers who have voiced support for police actions.
Thirdway Alliance Leader Ekuru Aukot had voiced similar concerns when he visited Kuria on Saturday.
He’d wondered why, even after the verification of the court order issued by Milimani Senior Principal Magistrate Kennedy Cheruiyot on Friday; Kuria was yet to be granted his freedom.
Attempts by Ruto-allied lawmakers to secure Kuria’s release on Friday had ended in chaos after police lobbed teargas on them.
Led by Kandara MP Alice Wahome, the legislators had stormed Kilimani Police Station demanding the immediate release of Kuria as ordered by the court.
Wahome who was accompanied by colleagues Kimani Ichungw’a (Kikuyu), Mohammed Ali (Nyali), Ndindi Nyoro (Kiharu) and Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen accused the Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi, of frustrating Kuria and other MPs who have been vocal critics of the government.
The Wahome-led group of lawmakers drawn form President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Mt Kenya backyard have in the recent past voiced concerns over the shrinking democratic space in the country.
The resurging wave of disobedience to court orders is similar of actions by the national executive in the period leading to the 2017 general election and post the election when the government, in February 2018, deported opposition activist and lawyer Miguna Miguna despite the court having issued an order directing the State to produce him in court, “dead or alive”.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi, who alongside then Immigration Principal Secretary Gordon Kihalangwa, and former National Police Service Inspector General Joseph Boinnet were fined Sh200,000 each for contempt of court, later dismissed the orders accusing the court of dishing out verdicts to frustrate government.
“It is about a clique of judicial officers who have got into an unholy relationship with a clique of activists lawyers and people in the civil society with the intention of humiliating the government, stalling the government, embarrassing the government and making it impossible for the government to perform,” he told National Assembly National Security and Administration Committee on April 3, 2018.
Miguna, a self-proclaimed General of the National Resistance Movement (NRM), has since made three unsuccessful attempts to return to the country.
He was deported back to Canada in March after spending 72 hours at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, demanding to be allowed reentry on a Kenyan passport seized when he was initially deported in February.
Miguna’s third attempt to return to Kenya aborted on Tuesday, January 7 after two airlines declined to fly him to Nairobi over red alert advisories issued by the government.