OPINION: Miguna has not presented himself as a threat to Kenyan gov’t or citizens

OPINION: Miguna has not presented himself as a threat to Kenyan gov’t or citizens

By Winnie Rugutt

The new year begun with an interesting case of one Miguna Miguna being prevented from traveling to Kenya as a result of a red alert.

The alert means that no airline is authorized to transport Miguna into the country.

He has been instructed to get the necessary traveling documents that will generally involve him visiting any Kenyan High Commission.

Kenyan legal minds are however still following up on the matter in court; grounding their argument are a number of international law treaties and conventions.

According to the Constitution of Kenya, international law is recognized as part of Kenya law: Article 2 (5) and Article 2 (6). Under international law, the liberty of movement is an important element for the free development of a person.

Article 13 (2) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) dictates that everyone has the right to leave any country including his own and to return to his country.

It is based on this general legal norm that a number of rulings from Kenyan courts have ordered the free return of Dr. Miguna.

Under international law, no government has the right to prevent a citizen to enter his/her country.

It is however important to note, according to the International Covenant of Civil and Political rights (ICCPR), Article 12 (3), a government can restrict freedom of movement when it comes to protection of national security, public order, public health and other rights recognized by the covenant.

In the case of Miguna Miguna, he has not presented himself as a threat to the Kenyan government nor the people of Kenya.

The fragrant disregard of court orders by the Kenyan government paints a gloomy picture of a government that seems not to respect the rule of law or only respects the law when it serves its purpose.

Legal frameworks and structure are intended to create order and stability in a system.

It is the role of government to not only facilitate the functioning of its’ legal systems but also the respect of legal decisions by courts.

Winnie Rugutt is a Tutorial Fellow at the Institute of Diplomacy and International Studies (IDIS)- University of Nairobi