Kenyan lawmakers lose the right to be immune to arrest while in parliament grounds

The two sections had protected MPs from being served with court documents within the precincts of Parliament.

  • The High Court has struck out section 7 and 11 of the Parliamentary Powers and Privileges Act.
  • The two sections had protected MPs from being served with court documents within the precincts of Parliament.
  • Nairobi-based lawyer Apollo Mboya who filed the case, successfully argued before the court that the lawmakers were using the 'immunity' to evade justice.

The High Court has struck out section 7 and 11 of the Parliamentary Powers and Privileges Act which cushioned lawmakers from being served court papers within the precincts of Parliament and questioning parliamentary proceedings in court.

“Parliamentary immunity is not an individual privilege granted to Members of Parliament for their personal benefit but rather for the people and the institution which represents them,” ruled Justice John Mativo.

“In view of my conclusions hereinabove, I find and hold that this petition succeeds. Consequently, a declaration be and is hereby issued declaring that sections 7 and 11 of the Parliamentary Powers and Privileges Act (No 29 of 2017) are unconstitutional and therefore null and void.”

Nairobi-based lawyer Apollo Mboya who filed the case, successfully argued before the court that the lawmakers were using the sections which barred parliamentary staff from being served with court papers to evade justice since they could always camp within parliamentary grounds even when the issue does not relate to their duties in Parliament.

The two sections had protected MPs from being served with court documents within the precincts of Parliament.

Early this year for instance, Embakasi Member of Parliament Babu Owino locked himself up at parliament buildings and vowed not to leave fearing he will be arrested once he stepped out of the safety of parliamentary buildings.

“I have locked myself up at Parliament buildings. Officers are waiting outside in three Subarus. They want to arrest me but I don't think I will get out. If matters worsen, I will spend the night here." he told journalists.

The said impugned sections of the Act had also barred anyone from challenging in court decisions made by Parliament or its committees.

The court found that disputed law does not specify nature of decisions or immunity in the performance of legislators’ duties.

Clerk of National Assembly however, argued that the sections seek to prevent interruption of the parliamentary proceedings.

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