MP Arthur Odera awarded Sh5m for Shujaa Ekisa's defamatory Facebook post
By Kamau Muthoni
| April 12th 2016
A man has been ordered to pay Teso North MP Arthur Odera Sh5 million for defaming him on Facebook.
High Court Judge Mbogholi Msagha ruled that Peter Ekisa alias Shujaa Ekisa should pay the MP for posting on his Facebook wall that Odera had allegedly misused Uwezo Fund resources.
The judge found that the post was meant to injure the MP's character and was threatening to his political life.
"In my judgment, the plaintiff has proved his case against the defendant and is, therefore, entitled to damages. I have already stated the plaintiff's public standing in society and more particularly in the eyes of the people he represents in parliament.
"There is no doubt whatsoever that the allegations were serious and may have serious repercussion in his future political life," judge Msagha ruled.
In the case, Odera told the court that he had tried to have Ekisa pull down the Facebook post voluntarily, but his pleas were not heeded.
The lawmaker told the court that the man opted to go to social media as it had mass subscribers.
Ekisa neither entered any response to the case filed in 2014 nor made any appearance.
Judge Msagha noted the Facebook post had sparked a heated debate and at the same time Ekisa never bothered to apologise.
Judge Msagha ruled: "The defendant must take his victim as he found him. The defendant embarked on a path of character assassination totally unprovoked and made sure that as many people as possible consumed those allegations. The damage of character sustained by the plaintiff (Odera) must have been enormous. I saw and heard the plaintiff testify and I have no doubt that what he told the court is the truth."
The MP was awarded Sh2 million as general damages and further Sh3 million for the malicious words and as a punishment to Ekisa.
"I have taken into consideration attendant factors herein including the refusal by the defendant to apologise or pull down the offending words from the Facebook platform," the judge noted.
To 'move on' is not alternative justiceAs we embrace dilemmas of justice around the 2007/8 post-election violence, there has been a resurgence of the philosophy of Alternative Justice System born in the turbulent years of the 1980s and 1990s, when the integrity of the Judiciary was at ground zero.
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