The High Court on Friday directed that a case challenging Azimio la Umoja - One Kenya coalition leader Raila Odinga's declaration that Monday is a public holiday be heard on Tuesday, March 21, 2023.
Justice Hedwig Ong’undi while giving directions in the case filed by former Nairobi Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko, noted the case is of great public interest adding that there was a laid out procedure for the declaration of public holidays in the country.
She observed that there was no Gazette notice by the Interior Cabinet Secretary declaring Monday, March 20 a public holiday.
Sonko in suit papers has named Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka,Martha Karua, Jeremiah Kioni among others as respondents in the case.
He argues that the declaration by Raila Odinga that Monday is a public holiday is expressly unlawful and was meant, calculated, and intended to incite law-abiding Kenyans into believing that the said holiday was officially declared public holiday.
“By his said impugned utterances during the stated Public Rally Raila confirmed the imperative necessity of this Honourable Court to issue Conservatory Orders, since the Constitution of Kenya has expressly declared and demarcated in Article 9 (3)4) and (5) of the Constitution of Kenya such of the National holidays celebrated in Kenya, which are public holidays,” Sonko argues in court documents.
Sonko also faults Raila Odinga saying he used inciteful utterances that have led to unlawful assemblies.
“As recognized organizers of any public demonstrations the said respondents are bound to ensure that their activities throughout the said demonstrations are peaceful,” he added.
He claims the Kenya Police Service owes all members of the public a duty in the arising circumstances, which is to protect from harm and breach of peace both the participants in such public demonstrations as well as the Kenyans who do not wish to participate in such demonstrations.
“The Respondents have clearly demonstrated that they are unprepared, unwilling and repugnant to engage in the peaceful exercise of the Article 37 Constitutional rights, by reason of which this Honourable Court is entitled to intervene as sought,” he argues.
Justice Ong’undi directed the application to be served to the respondents and the matter to be mentioned on Tuesday next week, interestingly a day after the purported holiday.
Raila declared Monday a 'public holiday' to allow Kenyans participate in the opposition's rallies aimed at piling pressure on President William Ruto's administration to lower the prices of basic commodities and address runaway inflation.