The detention of controversial political activist Miguna Miguna took a dramatic twist last evening when the High Court convicted three senior government officials of contempt of court after failing to produce him in court.
Interior and Coordination of National Government Cabinet secretary Fred Matiang’i, Principal Secretary for Immigration, Border Control and Registration of Persons Gordon Kihalangwa and Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet could now face up to six months in prison for the offence.
Justice George Odunga ordered the trio to appear before his court this morning at 10am for sentencing as he also directed that Miguna be released immediately and unconditionally.
“The respondents are contemptuous and they are convicted accordingly. They should appear before this court at 10am for sentencing,” ruled the judge. He also directed that if they fail to appear for the sentencing the court will go ahead and jail them in their absence.
The three had earlier ignored another order to appear in court in person or send their deputies to represent them as they were said to have attended the GSU passing-out parade yesterday. “It is high time those who have violate court orders took personal responsibility,” ruled the judge.
Earlier, Miguna said he was leading a “dog’s life” in police detention at JKIA. He claimed police had locked him “inside a tiny and filthy toilet without access to basic hygiene and necessities of life. The officers haven’t provided me with food, water and medical attention in addition to not according me my right to counsel,” he said.
The self-styled general of the National Resistance Movement claimed the room, near Terminal 2, was uninhabitable. “I have no access to a bathroom and I have not taken a shower since Sunday.
The toilet where I am being held has no shower or bathtub. There is only hot water in the toilet, hence, I am also unable to wash my face and brush my teeth.” He said he would continue resisting government’s efforts to have him enter Kenya as a “foreigner on a conditional visa. I wish to make it clear I will not permit them to continue violating my constitutional and legal rights through arbitrary bureaucratic fiats,” he said.
Lady Justice Roselyn Aburili on Wednesday instructed the government to release Miguna to appear in court yesterday morning. Miguna has been detained at JKIA since Monday on grounds he did not have travel documents granting him entry into Kenya from Canada where he was deported last month.
Justice Odunga concurred with Miguna’s lawyers that the respondents had not provided any clear reason as to why they cannot be held in contempt of court and have instead decided to go in hiding even after being granted opportunity to purge the contempt.
“Having considered the issues raised before me by the parties herein the matter before me is no longer a dispute between the parties but a matter of the court and l must act accordingly,” he ruled.
Odunga further ruled if the State officials failed to release Miguna forthwith, the court will not grant the State lawyers audience when they appear in court this morning. Matiang’i, Kihalangwa and Boinnet were found guilty of the contempt after they failed to release Miguna and for failing to appear in court by Wednesday at 9am.
Miguna’s lawyers led by John Khaminwa and James Orengo had requested the court to jail the senior officials for six months and an additional fine of Sh200,000 for it. Orengo said it beat logic that the government was ready to deport Miguna to Canada and Dubai but found it hard to bring him to court.
“From February 2, all court orders in this matter have been defied and disregarded. We invite you to punish them,” said the lawyer. He added that there should be a sanction against the Attorney General for misleading the government. Orengo said Miguna was neither a criminal nor a thug, had a residence in Nairobi and a rural home in Nyando constituency.
“His address today is a toilet in Terminal Two. He has been living in a toilet, which is inconveniencing,” the senator said. Odunga has also allowed Miguna’s lawyers access to him prior to his release. The court order will be served by the AG.