Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho has made good his threat to sue four politicians who last week linked him to an illicit drugs trade.
Mr Joho has denied involvement in the drugs business and accused Nandi Governor Stephen Sang, Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi, Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung’wa and Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa of malice.
In papers filed in court yesterday through Ochieng’ K & Associates, Mr Joho argues that the claims by the three were deliberate and calculated to inflict maximum damage on his personal image.
“The defendants deliberately, maliciously and callously employed false facts, cheap gossip and use of emotive and slanderous language calculated to maximise the injury and social and political hatred to Mr Joho,” says the plaint.
The governor says that, as a leader and mentor of youths, he was held in high esteem and was respected by the residents of Mombasa, his followers, peers and colleagues in the Council of Governors before the words were published.
The publication had “greatly and irreparably injured” Mr Joho’s reputation, integrity, personality and credibility.
As a result, “he has suffered distress, humiliation, public ridicule, psychological trauma, extreme embarrassment, loss and damage,” the plaint reads.
The governor wants the court to award him general, aggravated and exemplary damages for slander, and an injunction restraining the four politicians, their servants, agents or persons acting on their tacit instructions from further publishing the defamatory words.
Mr Joho is also seeking an order compelling the four to make a full and unqualified apology, which should be given the widest possible circulation and publication in at least two of the country’s leading newspapers.
But even as Mr Joho was moving to court, lawmakers allied to Deputy President William Ruto called for investigations into claims that the governor was involved in the drugs trade.
Speaking in Nairobi, Mr Sang dared Mr Joho to sue him, saying he was ready to defend himself. He claimed that he has evidence against Mr Joho, which he promised to present to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) and Interpol in the next two weeks.
“Bring it on,” he challenged the Mombasa Governor yesterday.
Mr Sang dismissed Mr Joho’s demand letter asking that he provide evidence of the governor’s alleged involvement in the drugs business, saying he will submit the evidence to the relevant authorities.
In Eldoret, Mr Sudi and his Soy counterpart, Mr Caleb Kositany, challenged Mr Joho to respond to the claims.
“I would like to ask Governor Joho to come clean on the allegations that have been made against him. He should first apologise to Kenyans for all the wrong he has done,” Mr Sudi said.
“He should be man enough and own up to his mistake, admit to Kenyans and seek an apology instead of issuing empty threats,” the vocal MP said.
Mr Joho has written to Interpol, seeking a clarification on reports that name him in the list of wanted drug barons, as claimed by his detractors.
Reported by Ibrahim Oruko, Onyango K’Onyango and Wycliffe Kipsang’