Orengo Ordered to Pay Sh1M for Defamation: A Landmark Judgment


Siaya Governor James Orengo has been instructed by a Kisii court to compensate Grace Moraa, the 94-year-old mother of former Kisii Governor James Ongwae, with sh1 million.

Additionally, the court has mandated Governor Orengo to publicly apologize to Moraa for his use of offensive language directed at her during a political rally in Kisii.

Her lawyer Peter Wanyama says the governor didn’t show remorse during the hearing. Her husband testified that they were listening to radio at their home in Kisii when they heard Orengo utter the defamatory words, repeatedly. He told the magistrate that if Orengo had a political problem with his son, the best way was to confront him directly ; there was no need to drag his wife in the matter.

Wanyama went further to slam the governor for taking his jugular to the old mother, “Instead of doing his politics against his equal, he went after the mother.”

The lawsuit

The suit stemmed from the remarks Orengo made during the Azimio s Baraza la Wananchi forum at Gusii Stadium on February 17, 2023.

The function was attended by, among others, Azimio leader Raila Odinga and Kisii Governor Simba Arati.

In the petition, Moraa argued that Orengo ‘failed to prudently discharge his duty of care in uttering a false statement resulting in consequences leading to injury to her’.

Orengo, she further argued, did not publish a clear apology equal to the published video in which he made the vulgar utterances against her.

She sought payment for general damages for ‘slander, aggravated and exemplary damages’.

She is further pushed for the publication of an apology commensurate with the magnitude of the offence.

Moraa, additionally in her prayers, wanted Orengo, or his agents, permanently barred from making similar statements about her.

In the suit papers, Orengo is said to have contemptuously described the Defendant as ‘incapable of bearing and raising a person worthy of Ongwae’ s stature ‘.

She says the sentiments were made to soil her reputation and standing in the family and larger society.

The defamatory words were widely published on YouTube and social media.

In his judgement, Hon. Mutai the trial magistrate was satisfied that all the ingredients of defamation had been proved and awarded damages.

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