Court suspends Shakahola commission after Raila sues

Commission of inquiry

Attorney General Justin Muturi (seated second left) and Justice Erik Ogolla (centre) joined by members of the commission of inquiry into the Shakahola cult deaths at Milimani Law Court on May 9, 2023. 

Photo credit: Pool I Nation Media Group

The High Court on Monday suspended operations of the Shakahola Commission for seven days pending a detailed ruling to be issued next week.

This comes after Azimio coalition, headed by opposition leader Raila Odinga, sued to stop it from commencing sittings.

The coalition filed the case two weeks ago arguing that President William Ruto's appointment of the eight-member team is illegal and amounts to a usurpation of powers vested in other state organs by the Constitution.

According to Azimio, the Head of State usurped the authority of the national police service to conduct investigations by appointing the team.

Further, the coalition argues that the move undermines the command of the Inspector General of police Japhet Koome, who is not only required to carry out investigations but also forbidden from taking orders from anyone regarding who to investigate.

The petition also accuses Dr Ruto of empowering his personal nominees to undermine the constitutional mandate and authority of constitutional institutions and state organs.

Dr Ruto appointed the commission on May 4 and named Court of Appeal judge Jessie Lesiit as the chairperson, to investigate the deaths, torture, inhuman and degrading treatment of victims linked to the Good News International Church in Kilifi- linked to pastor Paul Mackenzie.