Maria Mbeneka’s statement on the disobedience of court orders in Kenya

By Maria Mbeneka

I wish to express my deepest concerns on behalf of myself and on behalf of all Kenyans of good will with regard to the unprecedent increase of open defiance of court orders.

Just this week we have all borne witness to the frustration and humiliation meted on Lawyer Miguna Miguna in spite of the fact that he had been granted a court order by the High Court directing the government to facilitate his entry back into the country on 7th January 2020. Justice Weldon Korir clearly directed that Miguna’s Kenyan passport, currently under the custody of the registrar of the Court, be released and that he be accorded smooth entry back into the country.
This court order has since been treated as a mere suggestion which has been openly defied much to our chagrin.
In a different instance, Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria is still locked up at the Kilimani Police Station despite a court order ordering for his release on bail. The court on Friday directed that the MP be released on a Sh50,000 cash bail which he has since complied with yet Hon. Kuria is yet to be released.

We cannot sit back and go on with business as usual while citizens of this great nation are denied justice and court orders are not accorded the respect they deserve. If this persistent defiance of court orders by government agencies is allowed to continue, we will be regressing as a country and we will roll back on hard earned gains towards democracy that took us decades to attain.

A court order is an official and binding proclamation by a judge that clearly spells out the steps to be carried out by one or more parties to a case. It is not a mere request nor is it a recommendation; it is the law and as such must be followed to the letter by citizens including the government and its agencies.

These instances of open defiance for court orders and the rule of law sets a dangerous precedent not only for the executive but the nation at large. As I have stated on record before, what ails us in this country is not the absence of laws but rather the lack of goodwill to implement the law. We must accord full respect to the judiciary. We cannot disrespect this institution yet it is the one place we turn to for justice.

I strongly urge the Government to abide by the law and call upon them to lead by example. The rule of law applies to one and all. For Kenya to be a true democracy we must abide by and have deep respect for the rule of law. It matters not whether a pauper or a prince. Court orders MUST be obeyed.

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