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Social media influencer told to pay MP Sh2m for defamation

A social media personality has been ordered by a magistrate’s court in Nyamira to pay a legislator Sh2.5 million for defamation.

A reckless post on WhatsApp has landed Wycliff Asuga Nyaega in the soup after the influencer, who is popularly known as Enchui Ensacha, made defamatory remarks against nominated MP Irene Mayaka.

Mr Nyaega was found guilty of publishing defamatory statements in a video posted on July 25, 2023, and widely distributed to various WhatsApp groups, including ‘Nyamira News and Updates’, which has 457 members, among them Ms Mayaka.

It was further established that Mr Nyaega also shared the offending clip with other groups, including ‘The future of Nyamira County’, ‘Nyamaiya & Allied Forum’ and ‘Egetureri Kiomogusii’, each with at least 400 members.

The clip was also aired on his YouTube Channel, titled ‘Enchui Ensacha TV’, which enjoys a subscriber base of over 100,000.

According to court documents, Mr Nyaega used unprintable words to imply that Ms Mayaka was not nominated to the National Assembly on merit.

Ms Mayaka filed a suit before the Nyamira Magistrate’s Court on September 1, 2023 but Mr Nyaega failed to appear in court to defend himself despite having been summoned.

Resident Magistrate Beniah Okong’o Odhiambo proceeded with the case and established that the Orange Democratic Movement lawmaker’s application had merit.

Accordingly, the magistrate ordered Mr Nyaega to pay the parliamentarian Sh2 million in general damages and a further Sh500,000 as “exemplary, punitive and aggravated damages”.

Agreeing with Ms Mayaka’s prayer to have Mr Nyaega restrained from further defamatory remarks, the magistrate instructed the defendant or anyone acting under his instructions to pull down all the defamatory content from social media.

The court also ordered him to issue an apology on the same platforms on which the defamatory statements were published. Citing the case of Richard Otieno Kwach vs The Standard Limited & David Makali Nairobi HCCA No.1099 of 2004, the magistrate said “words are defamatory if they involve a reflection upon the personal character or official reputation of the plaintiff.”

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