Standard senior writer and columnist Tony Mochama. Credit: Tony Ontita/Facebook

Columnist and Author Tony Mochama has been awarded Ksh 9 million in a defamation case where he had sued activist Shailja Patel and Prof Wambui Mwangi after they accused him of sexual assault at a poetry party in Loresho, Nairobi in 2014.

Mochama sued Patel and Wambui in January 2015 after they started a Twitter campaign to have him fired by the Standard Group.

He averred the crusade under the hashtag #stoptonymochama was a smear campaign against him.

Senior Principal Magistrate A.M Obura said there was no concrete evidence that Mochama ever molested or sexually assaulted the two.

She barred Ms Patel and Prof Wambui from saying, writing and causing to be published any defamatory statements against Mochama.

The magistrate said it was evident that if the two are not stopped from publishing malicious claims about Mochama, they are bound to continue doing so having regard to their professions and the fact that they showed no remorse.

“I find that the publication was malicious on a balance of probability and I am not satisfied that they established justification or fair comment. There was proof of injury to Mochama’s reputation. The award is fair and reasonable,” she said.

After the verdict was issued, Mochama expressed his joy, saying that the truth has finally come out.

“In this day age it very cheap and easy to defame someone on social media but I am glad that the truth has finally come out. I believe in justice,” he said.

Obura held that the words were defamatory and calculated to ridicule or lower Mochama’s esteem in the eyes of the public through social media.

She said the two, who do not strike as ignorant or illiterate, should have known that it is reckless and ill-advised to resort to social media to give damaging information concerning Mochama without any evidence.

“I have considered the legal position and re-looked at the tweets as well as the threads on Mochama’s documents. The truth of these tweets concerning Mochama has not been established,” she said.

The magistrate added that there was no doubt that the tweets relate to Mochama and that he is referred to as a sexual assaulter and a molester.

Mochama sued the two women after they made a false allegation on September 20, 2014, that he visited Wambui’s home and sexually assaulted her friends.

According to the court records, Wambui subsequently took to Twitter and published defaming words.

The campaign, according to Mochama, was to put pressure on organisations he worked with to relieve him of his duties.

Mochama claimed the tweets were malicious and calculated to tarnish his name. He contended that the publications cause him to be termed as a sexual molester, assaulter and rapist, which was unfounded and false.

But Wambui denied publishing the malicious claims. She, however, admitted that on September 20 2014, Mochama visited her home and sexually assaulted Patel.

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