Kenya: Covid-19 – Parent Sues State Over Kenyatta Order to Close Schools

A Nairobi parent has sued the government for the continued closure of schools as part of efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered schools shut in March, days after the country confirmed its first Covid-19 case.

The institutions were to be reopened in September but with increasing cases of the disease and insufficient measures to protect students, Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha said learning will remain suspended until January 2021.

This, however, is subject to prevailing circumstances. By August 24, Kenya had declared 32,557 cases of the virus, including 554 deaths and 18,895 recoveries.

Procedure question

Enock Aura, the parent behind the suit, wants the court to determine whether the President can order the closure of learning institutions via a state of the nation address, without publishing the directive in the Kenya Gazette or tabling it before the National Assembly for debate and approval.

He has also urged the court to declare that the conversion of learning institutions into Covid-19 quarantine facilities was in violation of the Public Health Act.

The petitioner is also seeking orders compelling the Ministry of Education to reopen in-person learning institutions and schools from September 1, this being the start date of the next academic term for schools across Kenya.

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