The Case Of Phyllis Omido By Open Trial
FEATURES & CONSEQUENCES
Trumped-up charges of "incitement to violence" and "unlawful assembly" levelled at an organiser of peaceful protests against environmental pollution; children test positive for lead poisoning; corruption suspected as being behind the prosecution.
The 2007 post-election crisis forced the Kenyan government to return to its commitment to complete
Kenya’s long-standing quest for a new constitution.
This culminated in the endorsement of a new constitution by more than two-thirds of Kenyans in a referendum held on the 4 August 2010. The new constitution
includes many important reforms, as well as the symbolic and actual opportunity to make a new start in enshrining respect for the rule of law. With respect
to the justice sector, key reforms contained in the constitution and which, in particular, pertain to the Phylis Omido case, include:-
1. Inclusion of the rule of law, equity, social justice, inclusiveness, equality, human rights and non-discrimination among the national values and principles of governance binding all state organs, state officers, public officers and others when applying or interpreting the constitution; enacting, applying or interpreting any law; or making or implementing public policy decisions.
2. The specification of leadership and integrity requirements for public officers which can be used to stem impunity and disregard for law by the executive, legislature and the judiciary.
3. Measures for greater independence of the judiciary including re-organisation, financial and operational autonomy and a revamped Judicial Service
4. The re-organisation of the policing agencies and the establishment of the National Police Service Commission as a constitutional commission.
5. Enhancing the objectivity and accountability in investigations and prosecutions by assigning the state’s powers of prosecution to the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
However, for these important constitutional principles to translate into true rule of law, the government needs to pass enabling legislation and put in place adequate administrative mechanisms to address a number of issues and align them to the new constitutional dispensation.