Eight people who wanted to protest the rundown healthcare in Taita Taveta, but got arrested and charged with assembling unlawfully, have been found not guilty of the count.

Some of the eight could not access quality healthcare because Taita Taveta doctors were striking—and that’s why they decided to protest peacefully on March 4, 2021.

On November 26, 2021, Taveta Resident Magistrate Louiser Adisa, while acquitting the eight, said they did not intend to commit a crime or breach the peace.

The arrested were Kelly Aduo, Sharlet Ndiga, Cecilia Mukonyo, and Mariam Matiku. Others are Alex Mzasi, Ruphas Ngura, Mohamed Ali, and Francis Auma.

During the trial, three issues arose for determination to support the charge of unlawful assembly, two of which the prosecution failed to prove, Adisa said.

“It is clear that the people that had gathered were more than three, which is an assembly per the definition under Section 78(1) of the Penal Code,” Adisa said.

She said the eight did not assemble with intent to commit an offence.

The accused did not conduct themselves in such a manner as to cause a person in the neighbourhood to reasonably fear that the assembled will breach the peace, Adisa added.

“In the end, I find that the prosecution failed to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. Accordingly, the accused persons are hereby acquitted under Section 215 of the Criminal Procedure Code for the offence of taking part in an unlawful assembly contrary to Section 78(1) as read with Section 79 of the Penal Code,” Adisa said.

The court’s decision affirmed the right to protest, as contained in Article 37 of the constitution.

Read the full judgment here.

Daughter died after medics’ strike. Wanted to petition but was arrested. Now waiting court verdict