The High Court has quashed the cancellation of Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho’s firearm certificate.
Justice George Odunga said on Friday the decision to cancel the certificate was unlawful and was done unprocedurally.
“Although a gun is not a toy, those misusing firearms are obviously abusing their certificates and the government should not hesitate to withdraw their licences. But in this case, the decision to withdraw the applicant’s certificate is hereby quashed,” the judge said.
He directed the licence to be returned and issued orders stopping the interior Cabinet Secretary from harassing Mr Joho or his agents.
Mr Joho moved to court in March after the Central Firearms Bureau ordered him to surrender his rifles and pistols as well as the licence to the Mombasa Central Police Station boss.
The licence was cancelled after the withdrawal of his bodyguards, a day after Coast Regional Coordinator Nelson Marwa warned that those involved in violence in the March Malindi parliamentary by-election would have to face the law.
At the time, the governor and several opposition leaders accused the government of intimidating him and claimed the withdrawal of his bodyguards had been done unprocedurally, an argument the judge upheld in his verdict on Friday.
Mr Joho’s lawyers, Mr James Orengo and Mr Anthony Oluoch, told the court the governor had been a holder of a licensed firearm since June 18, 2008.
They said he had never been notified of any intention to revoke his firearm certificate or been informed he had suffered a disability that might impair his ability to have it.
The court was told that the governor was merely ordered, through a press statement, to surrender his firearm certificate or face arrest.
He, however, argued that his life was in danger and that his rights had been violated.
The governor sued the Chief Firearms Licensing Officer, the Interior CS, the Inspector-General of Police and the Attorney-General.
Previously, the judge had issued temporary orders stopping Mr Joho’s arrest.