Super outspoken Nairobi lawyer is not very happy with president Uhuru Kenyatta, especially after he did not declare a state of emergency on the current Corona Virus (Covid-19) crisis. Before the address to the nation, Lawyer Donald Kipkorir wrote an open letter to to the president, terming it “Pro-bono Advise”. The letter is as below:
Facing a global pandemic is equivalent to existential threat to a Nation. As China and Europe were attacked & imperiled by Coronavirus, Kenya and Africa generally were safe. We thought Africa was safe by divine providence. But God hates stupidity as we let our guard down and Coronavirus came calling. Now that we are in this situation, we have to find our way out of it. I offer my pro bono 5-Cents advise.
At the moment, your Government is fighting Coronavirus using Public Health Act. The Act is wholly inadequate and archaic for this pandemic. Though the Minister for Health has the enthusiasm, he doesn’t have the legal tools. The forced quarantines don’t have the force of law. Even Governors are getting excited and shutting down markets and quarantining people. When the dust settles, the Central Government and the Counties will face multi-billion suits for loss of business, false imprisonment and violation of privacy .. There is a way out.
President Donald Trump of US, Prime Ministers Boris Johnson of UK, Pedro Sánchez of Spain and Giuseppe Conte of Italy have invoked Emergency Powers of World War II. Kenya wasn’t there then, but mercifully, our Constitution gives you same powers. Articles 58 and 132 give you the authority to declare State of Emergency without Parliament and without legislation. DO IT.
In declaring State of Emergency, you will get legal cover to exercise the powers of a medieval monarch. The maxim Rex Non Potest Peccare (the King can do no wrong) will be applicable. Like the four leaders afore-mentioned, Emergency Powers allows you to inter alia: Do targeted lockdown; quarantine individuals or a whole section of the country; waive taxes, bills and rents; commandeer private factories to produce medical supplies; convert private hospitals and institutions including hotels into public hospitals and mortuaries; and use the Army for local security.
Mr. President, in times of war, great leaders emerge. And so are the weak leaders. History records the leaders that rose to the occasion or failed to. In times of war, leaders don’t delegate war powers to Ministers or other State functionaries. The President does the Big work and is visible everyday. Ministers, Governor, Police and the Army are left implementing. But national directives only come from the President.
And in a State of Emergency, you can also end Corruption, Robberies, Cattle Rustling and other National Bad Manners. Emergency Powers are used to fix other pending problems. And anyone who violates Emergency Powers is charged under The Terrorism Act including those violating quarantine rules.
Mr. President, ni hayo tu.
Mie wako, Donald.