Court awards poet Tony Mochama Sh9m in sexual harassment case

By Nancy Gitonga On Tue, 6 Aug, 2019 09:27 | 2 mins read
Tony Mochama
Kenyan poet Tony Mochama. PHOTO | COURTESY
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    Magistrate bars activist and professor from saying, writing and causing to be published any defamatory statements against Mochama.

Popular author and columnist Tony Mochama has been awarded Sh9 million as damages in a defamation suit against two women who accused him of sexual harassment.

In her Judgement, Senior Principal Magistrate Addah Obura said there was no concrete evidence that Mochama ever molested or sexually assaulted activist Shailja Patel and Professor Wambui Mwangi in September 2014 at a poetry party in Loresho.

The two ran a smear campaign against Mr Mochama in 2014 with the hashtag #StopTonyMochama.

The magistrate further barred the two from saying, writing and causing to be published any defamatory statements against Mochama.

“A mandatory injunction is hereby issued against Wambui and Patel restraining them from contacting, writing or publishing any defamatory material against Mochama to the public, his employees, scholars funded providers and supporters,” ordered the magistrate.

She noted that it is evident that if the two are not stopped from publishing malicious claims about Mr Mochama, they are bound to continue doing so having regard to their professions and the fact that they showed no remorse.

“I find that the publication was malicious on a balance of probability and I am not satisfied that they established justification or fair comment. There was proof of injury to Mochama’s reputation. The award is fair and reasonable,” ruled the magistrate.

The magistrate held that the words were defamatory and were calculated to ridicule or lower Mr Mochama’s esteem in the eyes of public through social media.

“l award the plaintiff Mochama general damages of Sh8 million while punitive aggravated and

the two women were further ordered to furnish Mochama with a written apology within 14 days

Further the court held that the two who do not strike as ignorant or illiterate should have known that it is reckless and ill advised to resort to social media to give damaging information concerning mochama without any evidence.

 “I have considered the legal position and re-looked at the tweets as well as the threads on mochama’s documents. The truth of these tweets concerning mochama has not been established,” she said.

The Magistrate added that there was no doubt that the tweets relate to mochama and that he is referred to as a sexual assaulter and a molester.

In September 20,2014 Mochama sued the two women after they made a false allegation that he visited Wambui’s home and sexually assaulted her friends.

According to the court records, Wambui subsequently took to twitter and published defaming words.

The campaign according to Mochama was to put pressure on organizations he worked with to relive him of his duties.

Mochama claimed the tweets were malicious and calculated to tarnish his name.

He said that the publications cause him to be termed as a sexual molestor, assaulter, rapist which was unfounded and false.

But wambui denied publishing the malicious claims. She however admitted that on the material day mochama visited her home and sexually assaulted patel

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