CS Macharia avoids jail in road toilets lawsuit

Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia

Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia. A judge has granted him six months to update court on the progress made towards provision of toilets along highways.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

A judge has granted Transport Cabinet secretary James Macharia six months to update court on the progress made towards formulation of guidelines and policies in relation to the provision of toilets and other sanitation facilities along highways.

Justice Oguttu Mboya ordered the CS to report back to the court on the status of the policy formulation and implementation on October 3, 2022.

The basis of the intended policy is the realisation of the right to clean and healthy environment along the Kenyan highways.

Justice Oguttu issued the order after declining a request by lawyer Adrian Kamotho to cite Mr Macharia in contempt of court for contravening the judgment and orders of the court dated January 16, 2020.

Mr Kamotho wanted court to punish the minister by jailing him to Kamiti Maximum Prison for 12 months and a fine of Sh20 million for disobeying the court orders.

He also wanted court to further impose a similar fine on the Council of Governors (CoG), Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA), Kenya Rural Roads Authority and Kenya Urban Roads Authority.

Mr Kamotho said they had disobeyed an order to create a team comprising representatives from the CoG) and the road agencies to formulate the policy.

In declining to cite Mr Macharia in contempt, Justice Oguttu noted the Transport minister was to facilitate and provide a forum for the liaison between the committee established by the CoG, KeNHA, Kura and KERRA.

“My reading of the terms and tenor of the decree that was extracted, signed, sealed and served on the respondents, is to the effect that it was the CoG that was directed to constitute a committee under a specific section of the intergovernmental relations act, and which committee was to liaise with the KeNHA, KERRA and Kura through the minister in charge of Transport,” he said.

The judge also observed that the judgment did not indicate the timeline for formulating the policy.

He also took note of an affidavit by Transport PS Paul Maringa indicating that Mr Macharia had constituted a task force, which incorporated various members drawn from different government offices.

It was also pointed out that following various meetings and receipt of memorandum from various stakeholders, the taskforce proceeded to and prepared guidelines, towards the formulation of policies relating to the construction of toilets and sanitation facilities along the Kenyan road networks.

Mr Maringa told court that the formulation of the policies and the implementation would also require participation of the countries who are members of the Northern Corridor Transit and Transport.

He said the guidelines have been circulated to the members of Norther and Transit Transport for deliberation and further action.

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