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High Court thwarts Atheist’s effort to block Thursday’s Pope Holiday

By MAUREEN KAKAH November 25th, 2015 2 min read

The High Court has declined to determine a case in which a man had sued the Interior Cabinet Secretary over a gazette notice declaring Thursday a public national holiday following the Pope’s visit to the country.

Justice Joseph Onguto declined to issue any directions in the case in which the president of Atheists in Kenya, Mr Harrison Mumia, had filed and appeared before him seeking orders to stop the implementation of the said gazette notice.

But since he had failed to attach the gazette notice number 8793, the judge said he could not issue directives on a document that had not been attached to the case documents.

“In the absence of the gazette notice, it is difficult for court to make any determination, besides it will not be in order to do that in the absence of the sued parties because what you are asking this court to do is to issue a final decision over this matter,” Justice Onguto said.


The judge directed Mr Mumia to properly attach the missing gazette notice as required and that the suit be heard on Friday to which the appellant pleaded with the court to consider the weight of the matter.

“Kindly don’t push this matter to Friday, it will be too late. I would want this court to determine whether it’s fair for the government to impose a national holiday because of the pope’s visit regardless of other faiths,” he said.

Mr Mumia explained that sometimes it is challenging to put all things together on a short notice and that should the court consider hearing and determining the case it would have met the ends of justice.

He appealed to have the declaration in the gazette notice of Tuesday that declared November 26 a public holiday and a national day of prayer be nullified since it is inconsistent with the Constitution of Kenya.

But the judge declined to consider his pleas saying that it would be prudent for him to also examine the document being referred to in order to issue a favourable decision to Mr Mumia.