Allegations of apartheid-style discrimination made by a group of doctors against an internationally-linked medical research institute have been questioned by Kenya’s court of appeal. The court overturned an earlier decision by the high court that found the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) infringed the doctors’ rights to equality, dignity and property among others. The findings were particularly serious because, on the strength of them, the high court judge had also awarded significant damages against KEMRI to each of the doctors. The medics were involved as PhD candidates with the KEMRI Wellcome Trust Research Programme linked to Oxford University and their initial application alleged that local black doctors were providing the equivalent of intellectual slave labour to white researchers. The appeal court has now dismissed the original application and the damages award, saying the high court had considered the evidence of only one side in the matter, resulting in a “patent injustice”.
Three former university professors have brought a claim in Kenya’s high court asking for restitution for human rights infringements. They seem to me part of a trend to end the culture of impunity in Kenya. The three had been detained and tortured under a previous government, and now, more than 30 years later, wanted recognition of what had happened, plus compensation for how their lives had been ruined by the unlawful action against them. The professors’ court challenge was not the first in Kenya in which compensation was demanded for human rights abuses under the previous regime and the courts now seem more comfortable about agreeing to hear matters arising from decades ago. Going from previous experience, however, I wonder how long the professors will have to wait for the damages, awarded by the courts, to be paid.
When a hacker found and used the password of bank employee Shakil Pathan Ismail he was short-paid for a year while police investigated. Then the bank went under and the financial institution that took over its assets and liabilities ended the staffer’s employment while denying they were responsible to sort out the problem of his hack-related short pay. So how was he to get his money? – He headed to Uganda’s Commercial Court where Judge David Wangutusi came to the rescue.
For a year following a breach of cyber security at Uganda’s Crane Bank, staffer Shakil Pathan Ismail was drawn into the investigation. After his password and that of another member of staff were used in an electronic hacking fraud during August 2015, the investigators put his salary on hold, promising that it would be “reinstated” once the police inquiries were completed. But this never happened.