Kenya’s High Court summons top officials over opposition activist’s detention

File Photo: online

By Fauxile Kibet

The Kenyan government and its High Court Wednesday engaged in a supremacy battle over the detention of Opposition activist Miguna Miguna at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).

The court ordered Kenya’s Interior cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi, Immigration Principal Secretary Gordon Kihalangwa, and National Police Service Inspector General Joseph Boinnet to appear before the High court.

Mr Miguna had attempted to re-enter the country after he was deported to Canada last month following his role in the controversial ‘swearing in’ of Opposition leader Raila Odinga at the country’s capital, Nairobi.

On Monday night, opposition leaders stormed the airport seeking to have the fiery opposition activist allowed into the country but their efforts were futile as police turned them away.

Kenyan Immigration officers maintained that Mr. Miguna must produce his travel documents before being admitted into the country. However, Mr Miguna claimed that his documents had been taken away and that he only had his Kenyan ID, which was rejected by the immigration officials as he had travelled from Canada.

“The ID, is only acceptable as a travel document to and from the northern corridors of Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Southern Sudan. Miguna’s travel had not originated from any of these countries,” read a statement from the Kenyan immigration department.

Mr Miguna’s lawyers moved to court seeking an order to have Mr. Miguna allowed into the country but despite the court ruling, the government remained adamant that Mr. Miguna should reapply for his Kenyan citizenship.

On Wednesday, Kenya’s high court Judge George Odunga said that Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i, Director of Immigration Gordon Kihalangwa, and Inspector-General of Police Joseph Boinett should appear in court.

“He who leaves the court with an order must be assured that it will be affected unless they apply to have it overturned. The respondents have defied the court order. The matter is stood over until 2pm,” Justice George Odunga ruled.

PRODUCE IN COURT

Justice George Odunga gave the order after the State failed to produce Miguna in court in accordance with an earlier directive issued by Justice Roslyn Aburili on Tuesday.

Justice Aburili had instructed that Miguna be immediately released and presented before court on March 28 after advocate John Khaniri filed an application challenging his detention by immigration officials at the airport.

The country’s high court further directed state council Japheth Mutinda to advice the Kenyan government to secure a “safe passage” for Mr. Miguna to court adding that the matter would not proceed until the activist was produced in court.

The Kenyan airport authorities have blamed Mr. Miguna for refusing to comply with immigration procedures for clearance after he refused to avail his Canadian passport for clearance at the airport.

Kenya’s interior ministry on its part maintained that the controversial lawyer is not a Kenyan citizen having failed to apply for the same after he lost his Kenyan citizenship when he acquired Canadian citizenship under the former constitution which did not allow dual citizenship.

Immigration officials Tuesday presented Miguna with documents they had asked him to fill so as to have his Kenyan citizenship “regularized” a move Miguna resisted.

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