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Crack down on abuse of court orders

case

Crack down on abuse of court orders. FILE PHOTO | NMG

jenny

Summary

  • Everyone involved with our legal system is currently colluding to leave the ‘users’ of our police and courts unpunished, and the officers of both free to do as they like, unchecked and unbalanced — until, in the end, they get arrested too, in some battle for land, or position, or property, or power.

Among stories of State corruption, and as mud flies in all directions, one citizen this week described one particular twist in events as the weaponisation of the police, meaning that arrests get used in fights about other matters.

They do, and it isn’t just the police that get ‘used’, the courts in Kenya do too, as a tool to subvert the law.

So, what do we need in place to prevent such systematic ‘usage’, so that our justice system upholds the law for those it is designed to protect, rather than adding new ways for the mighty to exert force?

My own eye-opening moment in this came many years ago, through an office we rented in a former school on the edge of Gigiri.

We subcontracted our space from the tenant and were keen not to be caught on the wrong side of the owner as a sub-tenant. We insisted the owner’s signature be part of our own tenancy agreement.

It was a joke of faith, for the owner wasn’t a straight guy. Just a few months later, he decided he wanted to convert the premises into a shopping mall and rather than serve notice under the tenancies, or even leave the tenants and subtenants in place on upper floors, he wanted everyone out.

So he went to court and sought an injunction to seize the property of the tenant for non-payment of rent. Except the tenant had paid and there was no case and no grounds for an injunction.

However, he won the injunction, got auctioneers and security to the site, took everything, including the sub-tenants’ property. That was in late November.

His case came to court in February. The tenant proved he had paid, the court ordered the owner to return the seized property. But ‘so what’ for the owner? The former subtenants were taken to a building full of furniture — none of the confiscated equipment was ever found or retrieved and all of the subtenants were out of that school.

The owner had begun the building work to convert that mall by the first week in December, now months back: it was a building site.

Thank you, courts, for helping him break the law and not even caring or having any recourse or action to deter such ‘usage’. Yet judges, legislators, the Law Society and the police chiefs – all are party to this usage.

For when the police are handily brought in, which I have also experienced first-hand, with a small bribe to arrest and harass someone, what structure is there policing them?

For worse still is the fate of those individuals that have tried to prosecute the police for their false arrests, and never turned up at court, having gone mysteriously ‘missing’, never to return or be heard of again.

The truth is no individual can take on these monstrous apparatuses of State that have become the playground and armoury of the powerful, being our own mafias and oligarchs, and criminals in business and politics.

As it is, I definitely do not have the knowledge of the current situation to know its rights and wrongs. But I do see other nations where there are rules of behaviour the police must keep, which are investigated automatically in circumstances that even ‘could’ represent any breach.

That doesn’t take an individual laying their life on the line to complain.

It is simply triggered by any arrest that could conceivably be procedurally incorrect: with the necessary requirements forged in iron.

For the courts too, they don’t just grant injunctions, oopsey-daisy, find out there was no case and do nothing about the opening perjury (lying or giving false information): they put an owner in jail if he uses their injunction to empty his building with false claims.

But everyone involved with our legal system is currently colluding to leave the ‘users’ of our police and courts unpunished, and the officers of both free to do as they like, unchecked and unbalanced — until, in the end, they get arrested too, in some battle for land, or position, or property, or power.