IG Japhet Koome threatened striking medics with violence. He got sued.

Legal action against Koome for infringing on doctors' right to protest | Judicial Review Application No. E082 of 2024
Case filed: April 16, 2024 Current status: Case Ongoing


  • Kenya Human Rights C0mmission (KHRC)
  • Katiba Institute
  • Kenya Section of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) Kenya
  • Transparency International Kenya (TI)
  • The Institute for Social Accountability (TISA)
  • Africa Center for for Open Governance
  • Siasa Place
  • Tribeless Youth
  • Muslims for Human Rights (MUHURI)


Respondents/ Appellants

  • Japhet Koome Nchebere

Interested Parties

  • Law Society of Kenya
  • Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists’ Union (KMPDU) 
  • Kenya Union of Clinical Officers

Status Updates

Nine civil society organizations sued Inspector-General of Police Japhet Koome for curtailing the rights of doctors to strike, assemble, protest and picket.

Koome was personally sued, meaning the National Police Service will not provide coverage for him. Any court orders issued will directly target Koome rather than the Service.

The court issued a ruling that prevented Koome or any other police officers from stopping or disrupting the doctors' strike.

Summary of facts

On April 14, 2024, Inspector-General of Police Japhet Koome said police under his command would "deal decisively and firmly" with the striking and picketing medics.

His statement required police officers to disperse peaceful and unarmed protests by the medics forcefully.

Doctors have been on strike since March 13, 2024, demanding improvements in the country's healthcare system, including hiring trainee doctors, better working conditions, and equal pay for equal work.

But the government, doctors said, refused to come to the negotiating table after it reduced the pay of medical interns by 77 per cent to Sh47,000.

The government insisted that talks can only resume if doctors end their strike, a condition that the medics find dishonest.

As such, doctors planned multiple protests to pressure the government to address their grievances, citing their constitutional rights.

However, Koome issued a statement that curtailed doctors' right to strike, assemble, protest and picket.

Consequently, CSOs wrote to Koome, demanding he retract his threats and apologize before 6 PM EAT on April 14, 2024. But Koome refused, necessitating the case.

The suit seeks to hold Koome accountable for any harm inflicted by police officers under his command on striking doctors during these protests.

The case argues that Koome's directive endangers the rights and lives of medics by potentially motivating police officers to use force to enforce the order.

The case also wants all police officers restrained from enforcing Koome's illegal order.

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