People Daily

ICJ slams Kihalangwa over Miguna ejection

Robin Obino @obinorobin

The saga surrounding the deportation of Miguna Miguna has taken a fresh twist after the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) Kenya Chapter demanded that Immigration Principal secretary Maj-Gen (Rtd) Gordon Kihalangwa explains how the controversial lawyer was issued with a Kenyan identity card.

They wondered how a Canadian citizen acquired the document, yet the government insisted the lawyer had denounced his Kenyan citizenship. ICJ also wants Kihalangwa to obey a court order directing him to file sworn affidavits explaining circumstances under which Miguna was deported.

“It is in the public domain that Miguna is a holder of a Kenyan ID card issued in Westlands, Nairobi when Kihalangwa was Director General of Immigration.

This raises questions,” ICJ Kenya executive director Samwel Mohochi said in a 19-page memorandum presented to the National Assembly Committee on Security and National Administration yesterday.

Last month, Miguna was barred from entering Kenya at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and was re-deported in a standoff that sparked public uproar. ICJ also criticised Interior Cabinet secretary Fred Matiang’i for his “irresponsible and reckless statements” targeting the Judiciary, saying his behaviour exhibited impunity.

It said the minister was going against the spirit and purpose of his unity agreement with President Uhuru Kenyatta. “We demand that the minister offers a public apology to the Judiciary for his reckless comments and required by the Departmental Committee to substantiate his allegations against the Judiciary.”

While appearing before a parliamentary committee on security, Matian’gi said there was a group of judges ‘trapped in an unholy alliance’ with civil society groups and activist lawyers whose intention was to embarrass the government.

According to ICJ, the controversy surrounding the deportation of the opposition activist is the basis of a new cold war between the Executive and the Judiciary.

It has been on the receiving end of the Executive since last year and, other than one-off assurances by Chief Justice David Maraga that it will safeguard its independence — he has previously warned that the attacks had become “bolder, persistent and institutionalized” — it has not made a strong case against the accusations.

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