TWO people living with HIV have moved to court to challenge a directive by President Uhuru Kenyatta that seeks to collect data and prepare a report on all schoolchildren living with the virus.
The two, together with Kenya Legal and Ethical Issues Network on HIV and Aids and Children of God Relief Institute say Cabinet Secretaries James Macharia (Health) and Jacob Kaimenyi (Education) have proceeded to implement the directive without any consultations.
Uhuru had ordered the names of the children and students and their guardians be collected, with the aim of offering support to the affected and infected.
High Court judge Mumbi Ngugi certified the matter urgent and directed the parties to return to court tomorrow. They argue that persons living with and affected by HIV were not consulted, contrary to the constitution. The group said the law requires all state organs to ensure public participation, inclusiveness and equality before implementing policies. The information requested was to be gathered and submitted to the President’s office by March 15.
Pictured above on this Star photo are James Kamau, one of the people living with HIV and lawyer Allan Mareche (Right) at the Milimani law courts Monday after filing a petition seeking to suspend implementation of the directive to report on all HIV-positive schoolchildren.
The petitioners say they tried to inform the President on alternative options on how to collect the data needed without violating the right to privacy of persons living with HIV, but there was no response.
According to court documents, the state through the President issued an urgent directive to all county commissioners to collect up-to-date information and prepare a report on all schoolchildren living with HIV, information on their guardians, information on the number of HIV-positive pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers. The information was to be gathered in a format that would link the people’s names and their HIV status.
The petitioners want the directive withdrawn on grounds that it is infringing on their right to privacy. “Unless the directive is recalled and new guidance is given by the President, the respondents will still pursue the process and will be setting an unconstitutional precedent,” the petition reads.
– See more at: The Star