Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho on Wednesday got a reprieve when the High Court restrained police from arresting, charging and prosecuting him.
Justice Eric Ogola also ordered the Inspector General of Police to reinstate security guards assigned to Mr Joho because he is the Mombasa governor.
Police and the prosecutions director, the judge said in Mombasa, should not arrest, charge and prosecute the ODM deputy party leader.
The court further directed the State agencies not to harass and intimidate the governor.
Police and other security agencies have been investigating Mr Joho’s academic qualifications and bank accounts.
The governor is accused of forging a 1992 Form Four examination result slip. The Kenya Revenue Authority has also been looking into his bank and tax accounts.
On Wednesday, the judge issued the orders pending the hearing of a petition by Mr Joho who wants his arrest and prosecution stopped.
The court did not stop the agencies from continuing with investigations against Mr Joho.
But the judge observed that any further investigations against the governor amounted to malice by the State agencies.
Justice Ogola said the court does not accept that utterances made by the President during a visit to Mombasa were meant to harass the governor, saying they were political.
However, the utterances may have had an effect on the State actors, noting that there have been fresh investigations and withdrawal of bodyguards after the President’s visit.
“Why the flurry of investigations and why now? The respondents misinterpreted the President’s utterances,” said Justice Ogola.
He added that what the President is alleged to have said has not been denied and what matters is the context in which the utterances were made.
The judge said that any charges being preferred against the applicant now will have perceptions of unfairness.
Through lawyers James Orengo, Dennis Mosota and Julie Soweto, the governor had said the accusations against him have been investigated and decisions made in various courts.
The lawyers had told the court that Mr Joho was apprehensive that there was a sustained and malicious effort by State agencies acting on the instigation of the President to threaten and possibly harm him.
“The actions of the State agencies that have swung to action in disregard of their independence and set various processes in motion against the applicant amount to abuse of public office for collateral purposes activated by malice and in excess of lawful authority,” read the application.
Mr Joho claims that he stands to suffer irreparable damage and prejudice unless the court steps in to check the infractions occasioned on him.
In his affidavit, Mr Joho said that on March 13, this year, President Kenyatta, while re-launching the Mtongwe ferry in Mombasa, threatened him.
However, the respondents told the court that Mr Joho introduced politics in the case and that there was no evidence the prosecutor or the police acted on the President’s instructions.
They further said the issues have nothing to do with the elections and that the Governor’s rights are not absolute.
The case will be mentioned on May 19 for further directions.
©Alleastafrica and Daily Nation