Sonko sues Kidero over drug trafficking claims
Nairobi senator Mike Sonko has sued Nairobi governor Dr Evans Kidero over a defamatory remark he reportedly made linking him to drug trafficking.
He wants Dr Kidero and a newspaper compelled to apologise and to be compensated for general damages for defamation and loss of reputation that the remarks caused.
The suit has been certified urgent and Dr Kidero is expected to put in a rebuttal on Thursday at the high court alongside a city newspaper which carried the story.
“The defendants jointly and severally have over the past few weeks engaged in a campaign against the plaintiff and have made defamatory, slanderous and scandalous allegations without any reasonable justification,” lawyer Danson Mungatana for the senator told the court.
The suit comes at the expiry of a demand notice the senator lodged against the governor in which he had given him a seven-day ultimatum to withdraw and publish an apology in the local press.
“The allegations are that the plaintiff is a drug peddler using his ambulances and hearses to supply drugs to slums,” the lawyer said.
Sonko states that the governor made the allegations in a public gathering which were subsequently published in the said newspaper “and have as such caused irreparable harm.”
SONKO RESCUE TEAM
Mr Mungatana said Sonko runs a rescue team called Sonko Rescue Team whose sole interest is to assist the needy in the society and manage disaster in times of crises “thus associating him with crime is unethical and injurious to the very nature of his charitable organisation.”
“The allegations only serve to disparage the plaintiffs reputation and will continue to cause injury unless the defendants are restrained through a court order,” the lawyer said.
He claimed that due to the publication of the story Sonko had already started incurring “huge loses” as some of his contracts for provision of charitable assistance to the needy have been cancelled while others are at risk of being terminated.
Sonko now wants the court to find the remarks defamatory and punish Kidero and the newspaper. He is also seeking the costs of the case.
Mr Mungatana has annexed a newspaper cut out headlined “Kidero says Sonko is drug dealer” to prove his case.
“I believe that any person who heard Dr Kidero speak during the function at Mathare could easily have connected the same newspaper report with a intention to destroy our young generation instead of providing them with mentorship and socio-economic empowerment,” Sonko states in an affidavit presented to the court.
He states that the words were not only falsely and maliciously uttered, printed but were meant to portray him as unfit to hold a public office adding that despite a demand for an apology the defendants have declined to retract the statements.