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The Legal Framework for the Right to Health in Kenya



By Dr. Kariuki Muigua, PhD (Leading Environmental Law Scholar, Policy Advisor, Natural Resources Lawyer and Dispute Resolution Expert from Kenya)*

The Corona Virus Disease Pandemic (COVID-19) has exposed and brought to the attention of the whole world just how important health and well-being of the population is. Indeed, the fact that COVID-19 has affected all sectors of the global economy is evidence enough that human health and well-being form the backbone of the global economy. It has become clear that no matter how much governments invest in other areas of the economy, if the health sector is ailing, then all the other efforts come to naught. While Kenya has been investing and making efforts towards guaranteeing the realization of the right to health care and well-being for all, there are still a lot of challenges facing the health sector in guaranteeing the right to health as provided for in the Constitution, the health Act, 2017 and other relevant laws and policies.

Article 2 (5) and (6) of the Constitution of Kenya makes any treaty or convention ratified by Kenya part of the laws applicable to Kenya. Thus, in addition to the domestic legal instruments on right to health to health, the international legal framework on right to health is also applicable in Kenya in so far as the same have been ratified accordingly. On its part, the Constitution of Kenya 2010 has numerous provisions that capture not only the various elements of the right to health/health care services but also guarantees this right for all groups of persons. The Constitution guarantees that ‘every person has the right— to the highest attainable standard of health, which includes the right to health care services, including reproductive health care. Article 43(2) thereof also provides that a person shall not be denied emergency medical treatment.

The state of health is closely related to the state of the environment and as such, Article 42 of the Constitution guarantees that ‘every person has the right to a clean and healthy environment, which includes the right-to have the environment protected for the benefit of present and future generations through legislative and other measures, particularly those contemplated in Article 69; and to have obligations relating to the environment fulfilled under Article 70. This between the right to health and right to clean environment has been affirmed in various courts, locally and internationally. In the case of Peter K. Waweru vs R, the High Court of Kenya affirmed that indeed, the right to life and right to clean and healthy environment are connected, in the following words:

“it is quite evident from perusing the most important international instruments on the environment that the word life and the environment are inseparable and the word “life” means much more than keeping body and soul together.” The UN Conference on the Human Environment 1972, that is the Seminal Stockholm Declaration noted that the environment was “essential to … the enjoyment of basic human rights – even the right to life itself.” Principle 1 asserts that: “Man has the fundamental right to freedom, equality and adequate conditions of life; in an environment of a quality that permits a life of dignity and well-being.”

In Mohamed Ali Baadi and others v Attorney General & 11 others [2018] eKLR46, the High Court of Kenya stated as follows:

In addition to the above, one of the issues implicated in this Petition is what is now generally recognized minimum requirements for existence of environmental democracy, namely, “the tripartite of the so-called access rights in environmental matters, namely, (a) access to information, (b) participation in decision-making, and (c) access to justice.” These three access rights have the common denominator that they empower individuals to have a meaningful voice in decisions that affect them and their development. The Constitution of Kenya and Environmental Law recognizes these three access rights… [which] are also intertwined in that achievement and application of each impact on realization of the others. For instance, access to information ensures that all persons who choose to participate in environmental decision-making are equipped with the necessary, or at least, basic facts about quality of their environment and their legitimate expectation on the same. Thus, violation of rights to a clean and healthy environment can easily lead to the violation of other rights in the Bill of Rights such as the right to life. …… .

The Health Act, 2017 was enacted to establish a unified health system, to coordinate the interrelationship between the national government and county government health systems, to provide for regulation of health care service and health care service providers, health products and health technologies and for connected purposes. The Act establishes a national health system which encompasses public and private institutions and providers of health services at the national and county levels and facilitate in a progressive and equitable manner, the highest attainable standard of health services; protect, respect, promote and fulfill the health rights of all persons in Kenya to the progressive realization of their right to the highest attainable standard of health, including reproductive health care and the right to emergency medical treatment. The Act lays the framework to protect, respect, promote and fulfill the rights of children to basic nutrition and health care services contemplated in Articles 43(1) (c) and 53(1) (c) of the Constitution and the rights of vulnerable groups as defined in Article 21 of the Constitution.

The Health Act, 2017 imposes duty on the State to develop policies, laws and other measures necessary to protect, promote, improve and maintain the health and well-being of every person; ensuring the prioritization and adequate investment in research for health to promote technology and innovation in health care delivery; ensuring the realization of the health related rights and interests of vulnerable groups within society, including women, older members of society, persons with disabilities, children, youth, members of minority or marginalized communities and members of particular ethnic, religious or cultural communities; ensuring the provision of a health service package at all levels of the health care system, which shall include services addressing promotion, prevention, curative, palliative and rehabilitation, as well as physical and financial access to health care; and ensuring adequate investment in research for health to promote technology and innovation in health care delivery.

The Health Act also guarantees that every person has the right to the highest attainable standard of health which shall include progressive access for provision of promotive, preventive, curative, palliative and rehabilitative services. In addition, every person shall have the right to be treated with dignity, respect and have their privacy respected in accordance with the Constitution and this Act. The other relevant national legal instruments include: Public Health Act Cap 242; Public Health Officers (Training Registration and Licensing) Act of 2013; Kenya Health Sector Referral Implementation Guidelines 2014; Kenya Health Sector Referral Strategy 2014-2018; Kenya Health Policy 2012-2030; and Kenya National Patients’ Right Charter 2013.

While Kenya’s healthcare system is made up of several systems: public, private and faith-based or NGO, it is estimated that about 48% are public and operate under the Ministry of Health, 41% are in the private sector, 8% are faith-based health services, and 3% are run by NGOs. In a bid to implement Sustainable Development Goal 3 on Good Health and Well-being, the institutional stakeholders working together in Kenya include but are not limited to: Ministry of Health (MOH); Ministry of labour; Government of Kenya (GOK); Council of Governors (COG); Ministry of Education; Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF); and National Social Security Fund (NSSF).

*This is article is an extract from an article by Dr. Kariuki Muigua, PhD Muigua, K., “Ensuring Healthy Lives and Well-being for All Kenyans,” Available at: Dr. Kariuki Muigua is Kenya’s foremost Environmental Law and Natural Resources Lawyer and Scholar, Sustainable Development Advocate and Conflict Management Expert. Dr. Kariuki Muigua is a Senior Lecturer of Environmental Law and Dispute resolution at the University of Nairobi School of Law and The Center for Advanced Studies in Environmental Law and Policy (CASELAP). He has published numerous books and articles on Environmental Law, Environmental Justice Conflict Management, Alternative Dispute Resolution and Sustainable Development. Dr. Muigua is also a Chartered Arbitrator, an Accredited Mediator, the Africa Trustee of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and the Managing Partner of Kariuki Muigua & Co. Advocates. Dr. Muigua is recognized as one of the leading lawyers and dispute resolution experts by the Chambers Global Guide 2021 and nominated as ADR Practitioner of the Year (Nairobi Legal Awards) 2021. 


Adler, N.E. and Newman, K., ‘Socioeconomic Disparities in Health: Pathways and Policies’ (2002) 21 Health Affairs 60.

Braveman, P. and Laura Gottlieb, ‘The Social Determinants of Health: It’s Time to Consider the Causes of the Causes’ (2014) 129 Public Health Reports 19.

Dominguez, E., The Right to Health,’ Icelandic Human Rights Centre, Available at: (accessed 23/11/2021).

Health Act, No. 21 of 2017, Laws of Kenya.

Kenya Health Policy 2012–2030.

Kiluwa Limited & another v Commissioner of Lands & 3 others [2015] eKLR.

Mohamed Ali Baadi and others v Attorney General & 11 others [2018] eKLR.

Muigua, K., “Reconceptualising the Right to Clean and Healthy Environment in Kenya.” (2015).

Organization of African Unity (OAU), African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (“Banjul Charter”), 27 June 1981, CAB/LEG/67/3 rev. 5, 21 I.L.M. 58 (1982).

Peter K. Waweru v Republic [2006] eKLR.

Preamble, Constitution of the World Health Organization, Basic Documents, Forty-fifth edition, Supplement, October 2006, pp.1-18.

Shehla Zia v. WAPDA, PLD 1994 SC 693 Justice SALEEM AKHTAR (Supreme Court of Pakistan).

Tomaziu-Todosia M, ‘The Importance of Public Health Policies in the Social-Economic Development of Romania’ (2019) 10 Postmodern Openings 162.

Treaty making and Ratification Act, No. 45 of 2012, Laws of Kenya.

UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR), General Comment No. 14: The Right to the Highest Attainable Standard of Health (Art. 12 of the Covenant), 11 August 2000, E/C.12/2000/4.

UN Commission on Human Rights, Convention on the Rights of the Child, 7 March 1990, E/CN.4/RES/1990/74.

UN General Assembly, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 10 December 1948, 217 A (III).

UN General Assembly, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 16 December 1966, A/RES/2200.

UN General Assembly, Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, 18 December 1979, A/RES/34/180.

WHO, ‘Sustainable Development Goal 3: Health,’ Available at: (accessed 23/11/2021).

News & Analysis

Former KCB Company Secretary Sues Over Unlawful Dismissal




Former KCB Group Company Secretary Joseph Kamau Kania who has sued the Bank for Unlawful Dismissal

Former KCB Group Company Secretary Joseph Kamau Kania has sued the lender seeking reinstatement or be compensated for illegal sacking almost three years ago. Lawyer Kania was the KCB Group company secretary until restructuring of the lender in 2021 that saw some senior executives dropped.

Through the firm of Senior Counsel Wilfred Nderitu, Kamau wants the court to order KCB Group to unconditionally reinstate him to employment without altering any of the contractual terms until his retirement in December 2025.

In his court documents filed before Employment and Labour Relations Court, the career law banker seeks the court to declare the reorganization of the company structure a nullity and amounted to a violation of his fundamental right to fair labour practices as guaranteed in Article 41(1) of the Constitution. He further wants the court to declare that the position of Group Company Secretary did not at any time cease to exist within the KCB Group structure.

He further urged the Employment Court to declare that the recruitment and appointment of Bonnie Okumu, his former assistant, as the Group Company Secretary, in relation to the contemporaneous termination of his employment, was unprocedural, insufficient and inappropriate to infer a lawful termination of his employment.

“A declaration that the factual and legal circumstances of the Petitioner’s termination of employment were insufficient and inappropriate to infer a redundancy against him, and that any redundancy declared by the KCB Group in relation to him was therefore null, void and of no legal effect and amounted to a violation of his fundamental right to fair labour practices as guaranteed in Article 41(1) of the Constitution,” seeks lawyer Kamau.

Kamau says he was subjected to discriminatory practices by the KCB Bank Group in violation of his fundamental right to equality and freedom from discrimination as guaranteed in Article 27 of the Constitution and the termination of his employment was unfair, unjustified, illegal, null and void.

Lawyer Kamau further seeks the court to declare that the Non-Compete Clause in the 2016 Contract is unenforceable by the KCB Group as against him and is voidable by him as against the Bank ab initio, byreason of the termination of the Petitioner’s employment having been a violation of Articles 41(1) and 47(1) and (2) of the Constitution, and of the Employment Act.

He also wants the Employment Court to find that finding that KCB’s group legal representation by Messrs of Mohammed Muigai LLP Advocates law firm in respect of his claim for unlawful termination of employment resulted in a clear conflict of interest by reason of the fact that a Founding and Senior Partner at the said firm lawyer Mohammed Nyaoga is also the Chairman of the CBK’s Board of Directors.

“A Declaration that the circumstances of KCB’s legal representation by Messrs. Mohammed Muigai LLP Advocates resulted in a violation of the Petitioner’s fundamental right to have the employment dispute decided independently and impartially, as guaranteed in Article 50(1) of the Constitution,” seeks lawyer Kamau.

Kamau is seeking damages against both KCB Group and Central Bank of Kenya jointly and severally for the violation of his constitutional and fundamental right to fair labour practices.

He wants  further wants court to declare that CBK is liable to petitioner on account of its breach of statutory duty to effectively regulate KCB Group to ensure that KCB complied with the Central Bank of Kenya Prudential Guidelines and all other Laws, Rules, Codes and Standards, and that, as an issuer of securities, it complied with capital markets legislation.

Kamau through his lawyer Nderitu told the court that he was involved in Shareholder engagement in introducing the Group aide-mémoire that significantly improved the management of the Annual General Meetings, including obtaining approval without voting through the Memorandum and Articles of Association of Kenya Commercial Bank Limited among others.

He said that during his employment at KCB Bank Kenya and with the KCB Group, he initially worked well with former KCB CEO Joseph Oigara until 2016 when the CEO allegedly started sidelining him by removing the legal function from his reporting line.

He further claims he was transferred from the Group’s offices at Kencom House to its offices Upper Hill under the guise that the Petitioner was merely to support the KCB Group Board.

He adds that at that point his roles were given to Okumu for reasons that were not related to work demands.  He stated that Oigara at one time proposed that he should leave his role in the KCB Group and go and serve as the Company Secretary of the National Bank of Kenya Limited, a subsidiary of the Group, a suggestion which he disagreed with to Oigara’s utter annoyance.

Kamau stated that his work was thenceforth unfairly discredited, leading to his being taken through a disciplinary process whose intended outcome failed miserably, and the Petitioner was vindicated.

“More specifically, the Petitioner contends that the purported creation of a new organizational structure towards the end of 2020 was in fact Oigara’s orchestration targeted to remove certain individuals by requiring them to undergo interviews in the pretext that new roles were created, and amounted to a further violation of the Petitioner’s fundamental right to fair labour practices under Article 41(1) of the Constitution,” said in his court documents.

He further adds that this sham reorganization demonstrates how the role of the KCB Group Company Secretary purportedly ceased to be and was then very briefly replaced with a new role of the KCB Group General Counsel. The role of KCB Group Company Secretary then ‘resurfaced’ immediately thereafter, in total violation of legal and regulatory requirements.

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Court of Appeal Upholds Eviction of Radcliffes from Karen Land




Adrian Radcliffe, the Expatriate Squatter, Evicted from Karen Property by Innocent Purchaser for Value

The Court of Appeal has stayed the decision of the Environment and Land Court purporting to reinstate Adrian Radcliffe into possession of the 5.7 Acre Karen Land by Kena Properties Ltd after eviction by the lawful owners in February 2022. Adrian Radcliffe who was evicted by Kena Properties Ltd, the innocent purchaser of the Land for value.

Before his eviction, Mr. Radcliffe had been living on the land as a squatter expatriate for 33 years without paying any rent. Since he moved into the property as a tenant, he only paid deposit for the land in August 1989 despite corresponding severally with the owner of the land. His attempt to acquire the land by adverse possession claim filed in 2005 was dismissed by Court in 2011 on the basis that he has engaged with the owner of the land July 1997 and agreed to buy the land which he failed to do. The High Court [Justice Kalpana Rawal as she then was] concluded that:

“His [Mr. Adrian Radcliffe] averments that he did not have any idea of the whereabouts of the Defendant and that he could possibly be not alive, were not only very sad but mala fide in view of the correspondence on record addressed by him to the Defendant’s wife. I would thus find that the averments made by him to the contrary are untrue looking to the facts of this case.”

On 10th March 2022, Mr. Adrian Radcliffe and Family purported to obtain court orders for reinstatement into the land. However, the Court of Appeal issued an interim stay of execution of the said orders. The Court of Appeal has now granted the application of Kena Properties Ltd and stayed the execution of the Environment and Land Court Order pending the hearing and determination of the Appeal.

The Court also stayed the proceedings at the Environment and Land Court on the matter during the pendency of the Appeal. In effect, the eviction orders issued by the Chief Magistrate Court for eviction of Mr. Adrian Radcliffe in favour of Kena Properties as the purchaser of the property for value were upheld and the company now enjoys unfettered ownership and possession of the suit property until the conclusion of the Appeal.

The Court of Appeal in granting the orders sought by Kena Properties Ltd concurred with Kena Properties Ltd that as the property owner it had an arguable appeal with a high probability of success which would be rendered nugatory if Adrian Radcliffe a trespasser was to resume his unlawful possession of the suit property, erect structures thereon, recklessly use or abuse the said suit property as he deems fit. In any case, that is bound to fundamentally alter the state of the suit property and render it unusable by Kena Properties Ltd as the property owner.

At the same time, the Appellate Court rubbished the argument of Adrian Radcliffe in opposition to the application for stay that he has been in occupation of the suit property for more than 30 years and that he and his family were unlawfully evicted from the suit property on 4th February, 2022. The Court also rejected Radcliffe’s claim that Kena Properties Ltd has no valid title to the suit property and held that as the purchaser, the company was entitled to enjoy ownership and possession of their property during the pendency of the appeal.

The Court dismissed claims of Mr. Adrian Radcliffe that Kena Properties Ltd as the property owner acquired title to the suit property illegally and unprocedurally finding to the contrary. Further, it rejected Adrian Radcliffe’s claim that Kena Properties as the purchaser cannot evict a legal occupier of a property putting paid to the claim that he was a legal occupier at the time of eviction.

As a matter of fact, Mr. Adrian Radcliffe cannot claim to be the legal occupier of the property having attempted to acquire it by adverse possession before the High Court thwarted his fraudulent scheme on 28th February 2011. Mr. Radcliffe did not appeal the 2011 High Court decision meaning it is still the law that he is not the owner of the land nor the legal occupier of the land having attempted to adversely acquire against the interests of the lawful owner who sold it to Kena Properties.

Mr. Adrian Radcliffe is a well-to-do Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WaSH) UNICEF consultant and former UN employee (who has been earning hefty House Allowance). Many have wondered why he has been defaulting in paying rent for 33 years on the prime plot of land in Karen while living large and taking his kids to most expensive schools in Kenya. No question, a local Kenyan could never have gotten away with such selfish impunity.

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Review: Journal of Conflict Management and Sustainable Development, Vol. 9, No. 1




The Journal of Conflict Management and Sustainable Development, Volume 9, Issue No. 1, which is edited by and published by Dr. Kariuki Muigua, PhD is out and stays true to the reputation of the journal in providing a platform for scholarly debate on thematic areas in the fields of Conflict Management and Sustainable Development. The current issue published in September 2022 covers diverse topics including Resolving Oil and Gas Disputes in Africa; National Environment Tribunal, Sustainable Development and Access to Justice in Kenya; Protection of Cultural Heritage During War; The Role of Water in the attainment of Sustainable Development in Kenya; Property Rights in Human Biological Materials in Kenya; Nurturing our Wetlands for Biodiversity Conservation; Investor-State Dispute Resolution in a Fast-Paced World; Status of Participation of Women in Mediation; Business of Climate Change and Critical Analysis of World Trade Organization’s Most-Favored Nation (MFN) Treatment.

Dr. Wilfred A. Mutubwa and Eunice Njeri Ng’ang’a in “Resolving Oil and Gas Disputes in an Integrating Africa: An Appraisal of the Role of Regional Arbitration Centres” explore the nature of disputes in the realm of oil and gas in Africa taking a look into the recent continental and sub-regional developments in a bid to establish regional integration. Additionally, it tests the limits of intra-African trade and dispute resolution and the imperatives for the African regional courts and arbitration centres. In “National Environment Tribunal, Sustainable Development and Access to Justice in Kenya,” Dr. Kariuki Muigua discusses the role played by the National Environment Tribunal (NET) in promoting access to justice and enhancing the principles of sustainable development in Kenya. The paper also highlights challenges facing the tribunal and proposes recommendations towards enhancing the effectiveness of the tribunal.

Dr. Kenneth Wyne Mutuma in “Protecting Cultural Heritage in Times of War: A Case for History,” argues that cultural heritage is at the heart of human existence and its preservation even in times of war is sacrosanct. It concludes that it is thus critical for states to take positive and tangible steps to ensure environmental conservation and protection during war within the ambit of the existing international legal framework. In “The Role of Water in the attainment of Sustainable Development in Kenya,” Jack Shivugu critically evaluates the role of water in the attainment of sustainable development in Kenya and argues water plays a critical role in the attainment of the sustainable development goals both in Kenya and at the global stage. The paper interrogates some of the water and Sustainable Development concerns in Kenya including water pollution, water scarcity and climate change and suggests practical ways to enhance the role of water in the Sustainable Development agenda.

Dr. Paul Ogendi in “Collective Property Rights in Human Biological Materials in Kenya,” reflects on property rights in relation to human biological materials obtained from research participants participating in genomic research. He argues that property rights are crucial in genomic research because they can help avoid exploitation or abuse of such precious material by researchers. In “Nurturing our Wetlands for Biodiversity Conservation,” Dr. Kariuki Muigua notes that Wetlands have a vital role in not just delivering ecological services to meet human needs, but also in biodiversity conservation. Wetlands are vital habitat sites for many species and a source of water, both of which contribute to biodiversity protection. The paper examines the role of wetlands in biodiversity conservation and how these wetland resources might be managed to improve biodiversity conservation.

Oseko Louis D. Obure in “Investor-State Dispute Resolution in a Fast-Paced World,” preponderance of disputes between States or States and Investors created need for a robust, effective, and efficient mechanisms not only for the resolution of these disputes but also their prevention. He notes that developing states lead in being parties to Investor-State Disputes (ISD) particularly as respondents. He proceeds to conceptualize and problematize investor-state disputes resolution in a fast-paced world. Lilian N.S. Kong’ani and Dr. Kariuki Muigua in “Status of Participation of Women in Mediation: A case Study of Development Project Conflict in Olkaria IV, Kenya” review the status of participation of women in mediation to resolve conflicts between KenGen and the community. The paper demonstrates a need for further democratization of the mediation processes to cater for more participation of women to enhance the mediation results and offer more sustainable resolutions.

Felix Otieno Odhiambo and Melinda Lorenda Mueni in “The Business of Climate Change: An Analysis of Carbon Trading in Kenya analyses the business of carbon trading in the context of Kenya’s legal framework. The article examines the legal framework that underpins climate change into the Kenyan legal system and provides an exposition of the concept of carbon trading and its various forms. Michael Okello, in “Critical Analysis of World Trade Organisation’s Most-Favored Nation (MFN) Treatment: Prospects, Challenges and Emerging Trends in the 21st Century,” highlights the rationale behind MFN treatment and also restates the vision of multilateral trade to achieve equitable and special interventions with respect to trade in goods, services and trade related intellectual property rights in the affected states.

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