LSK sues State over Russian Covid vaccine ban, new lockdown

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Economy

LSK sues State over Russian Covid vaccine ban, new lockdown


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Law Society of Kenya President Nelson Havi during an interview at LSK offices on March 2, 2020. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NAIROBI

Summary

  • The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) has sued the government for banning the importation, distribution and administration of Covid-19 vaccines by the private sector.
  • Through its president Nelson Havi, the lawyers lobby wants the court to declare the government’s decision unconstitutional and stop its implementation and enforcement.

The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) has sued the government for banning the importation, distribution and administration of Covid-19 vaccines by the private sector.

Through its president Nelson Havi, the lawyers lobby wants the court to declare the government’s decision unconstitutional and stop its implementation and enforcement.

In the case that he wants certified urgent, Mr Havi says the ban and cancellation of licences issued to importers and distributors of the vaccine should not have been made when the government has set its vaccination goal by January 2022 at 30 per cent of the population.

He says the ban, which was imposed after a section of Kenyans led by Deputy President William Ruto started going for Russia’s Sputnik vaccine, violates Article 43 of the Constitution which guarantees the right to the highest attainable standard of health. This includes the right to healthcare services and the prohibition against denial of emergency medical treatment.

LSK is also challenging the raft of Covid-19 mitigation measures imposed by President Uhuru Kenyatta, including lockdown and cessation of movement in five counties and the night-to-dawn curfew.

According to Mr Havi, the President’s Public Order dated March 26, 2021 is not founded on any provision of the law, hence it is unlawful.

Mr Havi argues that rules restricting movement are statutory instruments that cannot be enforced as law through arrests and criminal prosecution of offenders in any court of Kenya without prior public participation and approval by Parliament.

“The same cannot be used to limit freedom of movement, right to enter, remain and reside anywhere in Kenya and the right to assemble, demonstrate, picket or petition and any such limitation is unconstitutional,” says Mr Havi.

He argues that Mr Kenyatta, together with the Interior and Health Cabinet secretaries (CS) have limited the rights and fundamental freedoms in the Bill of rights.

The President and the two CS erred in issuing and implementing decisions that require legislation and parliamentary approval in combating Covid-19.



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