Activist Nuru Okanga charged with spreading lies about DP Gachagua

Activist Nuru Maloba Okanga at a Milimani court, November 30, 2023. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]

Activist Nuru Maloba Okanga who has been in custody for five days was on Wednesday charged with spreading false information on a YouTube channel regarding Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua.

Appearing before Milimani Chief Magistrate Bernard Ochoi, Okanga denied several criminal charges of publishing false, defamatory and threatening information on social media regarding Gachagua.

The Director of Public Prosecution informed the court that the accused posted malicious and false information about the Republic of Kenya and its leadership and advocated for public disturbance.

Okanga was accused of ‘‘knowingly and unlawfully published false, defamatory and threatening information online while using the Tiktok account.’’

He was also charged that at an unknown place, jointly with others not before court, he published false, defamatory and threatening information online, while using the Tiktok Account.

The charge notes that he did so knowing it to be false and well-calculated to cause fear, and panic among the citizens of Kenya and destroy the reputation of the Executive leadership of Kenya. The court was also told that Okanga with others not before court, through an unlawful broadcast while using his social accounts, published videos which were in contravention of the provisions of an issued valid licence.

Through his lawyer Shadrack Wambui,  he urged the court to release his client on lenient bond terms.

Wambui said Okanga is a Form One student and lives on the benevolence of well-wishers.

“His work is for no gain. He is a family man married with a child. The wife is unwell and the child is admitted at Kenyatta National Hospital having two of his kidneys not working,” Wambui argued.

The lawyer added that the charges were made up so that the accused person, a frequent court user, could not participate in the demos that happened on Tuesday on the Finance Bill.

The court was also told that Okanga is not a flight risk. He was arrested on June 11 and has been in custody pending investigations on the matter.

Magistrate Ochoi released him on a cash bail of Sh100,000 or a bond of Sh200,000.

The case will be mentioned on July 3 for pretrial.