Uhuru hate speech suit defective, says newspaper
Posted Friday, May 11 2012 at 15:13
Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta’s court action against The Star for alleged hate speech is incompetent and fatally defective, the newspaper says.
The suit should be struck out and dismissed with costs, The Star told a court Friday.
A hate speech complaint is province of the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC), yet Mr Kenyatta had not lodged a complaint at the commission, the newspaper argues in a notice of preliminary constitutional question, filed on Thursday.
At the same time, Justice David Majanja disqualified himself saying he had acted for the newspaper. He said that the matter will be mentioned before Justice Isaac Lenaola on May 15 for directions.
The newspaper wants the court to first determine whether the application is appropriate for the remedies that Mr Kenyatta is seeking.
Mr Kenyatta’s claim is about alleged defamation and an action for defamation can only be taken through a civil suit and not a constitutional petition as done by Mr Kenyatta, The Star states.
Mr Kenyatta sued the Star for publishing an article that allegedly linked him to a plot to have former Mungiki leader Maina Njenga assassinated. His lawyers filed the suit as a Constitutional Petition on Tuesday, alleging that The Star violated his fundamental right and freedom.
But such freedoms set out in the Bill of Rights can be enforced by a constitutional petition only if the action is against the state or state organs, the newspaper states.
“The entire petition is an abuse of the process of the court and is intended to censor the respondent’s freedom of the media,” says The Star.
Mr Kenyatta wants the newspaper ordered to compensate him for alleged gross violation of his fundamental rights.
He is also seeking a permanent injunction restraining The Star and its agents from fabricating or publishing any other reports about him in the form of hate speech.
But the newspaper, which is published by Radio Africa Limited, wants the court to determine its preliminary constitutional question first.
The disputed report claimed that Mr Kenyatta was linked to a Mr Thuo, the gunman who caused a commotion at Mr Njenga’s Hope International Church on April 22, the Deputy Premier says.
Mr Kenyatta, who has indicated his interest in the presidency, contends that the article implied that if he became president he would be the most morally corrupt leader the country would ever know.
The news article portrayed him as a thug worse than the vilest mafia operative, he claims.