The High Court on Wednesday temporarily suspended the move by the NGO Cordination board to deregister the Africa Centre for Open Governance (AfriCOG) and arrest of its directors.
Justice Enoch Chacha Mwita granted the temporary reprieve to the lobby which was deregistered on Tuesday for failure to register with the board.
The judge also ordered that none of its directors should be prosecuted and that its bank accounts should not be frozen pending hearing and determination of the case.
The court order came as the government ordered the suspension of the move to shut down two rights groups — AfriCOG and the Kenya Human Rights Commission.
The closure comes days after pro-democracy AfriCOG raised queries over last week’s disputed presidential election. The ban notice on Tuesday attracted international condemnation.
“Unless this matter is heard and determined as one that is urgent and a stay of the illegal decision is granted, Africog’s operations are at a grave risk of being raided with all its equipment being unlawfully confiscated,” said Mr Samwel Muhochi, the lawyer for AfriCOG.
Police and Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) officials raided AfriCOG offices hours before the court ruling and the suspension order from the government.
In case documents, Africog protested against the closure directive saying that it was unlawful since the lobby had religiously complied with all statutory obligations.
The court also heard that at least 15 employees of the lobby would be rendered jobless and the move was meant to intimidate NGOs for political reasons.