Ongwae’s mother sues Orengo for ‘hurling insults at her’

By , K24 Digital
On Wed, 29 Mar, 2023 13:48 | 3 mins read
Gender-based violence on the rise in Siaya county
Siaya Governor James Orengo PHOTO/Courtesy

Mother of former Kisii governor James Ongwae has sued Siaya governor James Orengo for hurling insults at her during a political rally organized by Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya Coalition party in Kisii county late last month. 

In a defamation suit filed in court, Grace Moraa Ongwae says Governor Orengo infringed her right to human dignity when he made offensive, vulgar, crude, false and derogatory remarks against her on February 17,2023, which she says have since painted her in a negative light and exposed her to hatred, ridicule and mockery to the residents of Kisii county.

Orengo is said to have made the defamatory attacks against Ongwae's mother at an Azimio coalition public rally held in Kisii ahead of the planned country wide demonstrations that kicked off on March 20,2023.

“The defendant (Orengo) referred to me as a mother incapable of raising a person deserving a position of such high stature without any basis, with the intention to ruin my good standing amongst my family members, friends, the residents of Kisii county and the State itself,” Ongwae's mother states in her affidavit.

“Orengo infringed my right to human dignity by making crude, false and defamatory statement that painted me in a negative light. This statement by Orengo has significantly damaged my reputation and made me a target of derision, odium, suspicion, opprobrium and mockery from the general public," Moraa claims in her court papers.

Through lawyer Peter Wanyama, Moraa argues that Orengo made the alleged defamatory remarks towards her and Ongwae because of the latter’s recent decision to shift from Azimio coalition to President William Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance.

Ongwae's mother alleges that the governor dragged her name in his speech and humiliated her through derogatory words. The speech was in Kiswahili, according to the court papers.

“Orengo deliberately invoked ridicule, mockery and suspicion because Moraa’s son, who is a well-known public figure, recently shifted from Azimio la Umoja coalition (the opposition) to UDA (the ruling party) recently,” Wanyama says.

"For all intents and purposes, the words used by Orengo were derogatory in nature and meant to denigrate, discredit and embarrass Moraa. The statements are not only untrue but were made without basis and is an insult to Ongwae's mother, " Wanyama adds

As a result of the alleged defamatory statement, the court papers indicate that Ongwae “received numerous telephone calls from persons in shock and disappointed by the humiliating address delivered by Governor Orengo”.

According to lawyer Wanyama, the governor’s statement drew the attention of many listeners due to governor Ongwae’s status as a prominent member of society.

Since Orengo is highly influential, the lawyer says the alleged derogatory statement was aired in an online YouTube channel.

“The specific utterance gained a large audience as shown in its publication on the said digital platform which has 581,000 subscribers,” Wanyama says.

He wants Ongwae awarded damages of unspecified amount of money for the harm caused by the alleged defamatory statement.

She also wants court to issue a permanent injunction restraining Orengo and his agents or servants from further remaking or causing to be published the alleged defamatory words.

Lawyer Wanyama also wants court to direct Orengo to publish and upload a clear apology of equal prominence to Ongwae's mother with equal national coverage.

“The defendant made a clear, succinct and unequivocal defamatory remark that was explicitly designed to jeopardize the plaintiff’s reputation by exposing her to hatred, contempt, scorn, mockery and ridicule by viewers to the video published and the residents of Kisii County in general,” Wanyama states.

According to him, the statement made by the governor in its natural and ordinary meaning may be construed to mean that Ongwae “is incapable of raising her children in a household where disciplined is enforced.”

“The defendant’s statement was actuated by malice and was delivered with reckless without care of the effect of the same. Through the reckless utterances of the defendant, the plaintiff’s reputation has been injured, disparaged and lowered in the eyes of the general public and right-thinking members of the society,” Wanyama says.

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