The International Institute for Legislative Affair is a not- for- profit organization that works closely with policy making institutions, Government Departments, Members of Parliament and other stakeholders in the legislative process to draft and advocate for pro- people policies and legislation. IILA was formed in 2004 and has worked on tobacco control for over 12 years.
On Friday 17th February, the Court of Appeal through a three judge Bench comprising of Lady Justice Hannah Okwengu, Justice Festus Azangalala and Lady Justice Fatuma Sichale dismissed BAT’s Appeal against a judgement delivered by Judge Mumbi Ngugi of the High Court of Kenya in March 2016. In her judgement, judge Ngugi had dismissed BAT’s petition against the constitutionality of the Tobacco Control Regulations, 2014 drafted by the Ministry of Health.
On June 25 2004, Kenya became one of the first countries to sign AND ratify the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO- FCTC)- the first global Public Health treaty- on the on the same day!. This was a great show of commitment by our government to the protection of public health of its citizens. The FCTC was domesticated through the Tobacco Control Act, enacted in 2007, so in 2017 we celebrate 10 years since it came into force. This is the best gift for this occasion. It has been a real struggle to get the Tobacco Control Regulations. The delay has been occasioned to a large extent by Tobacco Industry interference at different stages of the process culminating in the constitutional challenge at the High Court and later Court of Appeal; which delayed implementation for over 2 years. We are very happy with the judgement delivered by the Court of Appeal. We expect the regulations to come into effect immediately.
We thank the judiciary for standing up against corporate power and impunity and standing with the people of Kenya to uphold their Constitutional Right to Health over Commercial and other vested interests of the industry.
Tobacco use is a major risk factor for Non- Communicable Diseases (NCDs), including cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic lung disease and diabetes. For this reason, the implementation of the FCTC is included in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that world leaders adopted in September 2015 at the UN General Assembly. In fact it is recognized as one of the “means of implementation” to reach the overall health goal and target on NCDs under the SDGs. There can be no development without effective tobacco control.
Implementation of the tobacco control Act and its Regulations is a fulfilment of the constitution of Kenya under Article 42. Which guarantees that “every person has the right to a clean and healthy environment”, Article 43(1) which provides that “Every person has the right to the highest attainable standards of health”. However, the full benefits of these provisions will only be enjoyed through the effective implementation of the Tobacco Control Act and its Regulations. We are happy the Kenyan Judiciary has affirmed this.
We would like to thank the Kenya Tobacco Control Alliance (KETCA) and the Consumer Information Network (CIN) for leading civil society efforts towards supporting the Ministry of Health; our partners in Kenya and around the world and all who have stood with Kenya during this difficult Journey.
Last but certainly not least, we congratulate the Ministry of Health for the gallant fight. As we move forward, we ask that they now move with speed to make up for lost time. We commit to work closely with the Ministry of health and other stakeholders to achieve this and look forward to speedy implementation of the Tobacco Control Act, 2007 and the Tobacco Control Regulations 2014 at National and County levels.
For more information on the statement, please contact Ms. Emma Wanyonyi, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), International Institute for Legislative Affairs (IILA) on Tel: +254 796 409 984 or firstname.lastname@example.org