Cancel KDF deployment or else we meet in court, LSK tells govt

Major General David Tarus (right), and officers at Chemolingot, Baringo County on January 6, 2023.

Photo credit: Pool I Nation Media Group

The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) has threatened to move to court over the deployment of the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) in six counties to assist the police in flushing out bandits from the areas.

In a statement, LSK President Eric Theuri urged the Interior Cabinet Secretary Prof Kindiki Kithure to rescind the gazette notice and regularise the operation by seeking approval of the National Assembly before deploying the military.

Mr Theuri said the attempt to restore peace unconstitutionally can only expose KDF officers to risks of personal culpability for actions not sanctioned by the constitution.

The CS deployed the security personnel to conduct a joint security operation in all banditry-prone areas including Turkana, Samburu, West Pokot, Elgeyo Marakwet, Baringo and Laikipia to combat lawlessness.

Prof Kindiki also declared 30-day curfew in the insecure parts of the six counties.

Defence Cabinet Secretary Aden Duale also gazetted the deployment of KDF to support the Kenya Police Service in dealing with bandits in the North Rift.

“Even as government takes measures to restore peace and security in the areas, it cannot employ extra constitutional means. We are of the view that the curfew orders 1 and 2 violate the constitution and should be rescinded,” Mr Theuri said.

Should be regularised

The LSK said the deployment of KDF to assist the police in the affected areas should be regularised as prescribed under Article 241(3)(c) of the constitution and sections 31 and 31 of the Kenya Defence Forces Act.

Mr Theuri said the intended deployment of the KDF to assist the police in dealing with the serious threat posed to the national security, public order and safety are in clear violation of the constitution and has been done by the government under the cover of the orders issued.

“We also fault the Cabinet Secretary of the Interior for amending the operation contained in the gazette notice to read police led with assistance of the military under,” he said.

The lawyers’ umbrella body said the operation in the affected areas is neither an emergency nor a disaster but rather a full-scale security deployment intended to restore security and public order.

He said it is only the Chief of Defence Forces who shall have responsibility over the administration, control and overall superintendence of the operation.

“In the event no actions is taken within the next 3 days, we shall regrettably move to court and have the gazette notices quashed and seek to have the government compelled to comply with the law,” Mr Theuri added in the letter sent to Attorney General Justin Muturi and copied to Prof Kindiki.