Group seeks new bench for Lamu Port petition

A group of Lamu County residents want a three-judge bench appointed to hear their petition seeking to have construction of the Lamu Port halted.

The residents on Tuesday asked the High Court to block the construction.

They want the rights of area residents protected before the government embarks on the project set to cost more than Sh1 trillion.

Through lawyer Paul Muite, the group told Lady Justice Christine Meoli that the petition was aimed at ensuring the constitutional rights of the residents were not infringed upon during the construction.

“A line has to be drawn between public interest and expediting justice in the urgent matters of the suit,” Mr Muite said.

The petitioners argued that it would be in the best interest of all parties for the case to be heard by a three-judge bench appointed by Chief Justice Willy Mutunga.

The case was first filed at the constitutional court in Nairobi in January, but the matter was transferred to the Malindi High Court after Mr Justice Isaac Lenaola ruled that the High Court in Nairobi did not have jurisdiction to hear it.

Those sued include the Attorney-General, the ministers for Environment, Lands, Transport, Energy, Information, Roads and Public Works, Kenya Ports Authority and the National Environment Management Authority.

More time

A representative of the AG, Ms Ruth Lutta, said the State concurred that issues raised needed to be considered, but asked the court for more time in order to get more substantive instructions from Nairobi.

Lady Justice Meoli granted the State’s application for more time in order for Ms Lutta to receive instructions and set the date of the hearing for the application of a three-bench judge to June 25.

At the same time, four human rights organisations successfully applied to join the suit.