Women sue AG over ‘discriminatory by-laws’

Published on 09/06/2009

By Maureen Mudi

Two women have challenged some by-laws they claim to be discriminatory.

In a petition filed at Mombasa High Court, Ms Lucy Nyambura and Ms Ann Wangui have sued the local Town Clerk, Police Commissioner and Attorney-General.

They want the Mombasa Municipal Council By-Laws Section 258 (e) or any other related law declared unconstitutional, claiming they violate women’s rights and dignity.

They filed the suit after they were arrested and detained at a police station on August 13 and later charged with loitering in a public place for immoral purposes.

In an affidavit, they argue the by-laws entrench fear among women and they cannot freely venture out of their houses for fear of ‘odious arrest’.

Violation of pact

“The by-laws under which they were arraigned in court is a violation of the Convention for Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women, to which Kenya is a signatory,” lawyer Harun Ndubi told the court. High Court Judge Joseph Sergon granted an application by the women, seeking to stay the proceedings against them, pending determination of the petition.

They claim they were arrested by officers without any warrant or court order.

They further said their arrest is discriminatory and sexist. The case will be heard on July 1.

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