Renowned journalist and poet Tony Mochama famously known as ‘Smitten’ was today awarded Ksh9 million for defamation in a case where two ladies had accused him of sexual harassment.
Issuing the ruling on the case filed in 2014, Magistrate A Obura ordered that Shalja Patel and Prof Wambui Mwangi issue a written apology to Mr Mochama within 14 days.
The two women accused Mr Mochama of sexual harassment following a meeting held at Prof Mwangi’s place, Spring Valley, to discuss Africa Poetry Book Fund with the Fund’s founder, Prof Kwame Dawes.
“I will not file a police report, or press charges. I will not engage in farcical dehumanizing bureaucratic exercises which only legitimize a fascist police apparatus that extorts, rapes, abducts and kills poor and marginalized Kenyans at will; a police force that has just conducted the ethnic cleansing we witnessed as #kasaraniconcentrationcamp. I will not pretend that a overwhelmed and compromised judicial machinery which has denied justice to Liz, to Kwekwe Mwandaza, to Somali women and girls, to PEV survivors, can be of any use in this situation,” said Ms Patel as quoted in a press release sent to media houses then, prepared by Ann Njogu, Chair, Centre for Rights, Education and Awareness (CREAW).
On the press statement, Ms Patel called on the public to “follow, retweet and amplify wambui_mwangi and #StopTonyMochama”.
Prof Wambui Mwangi. [PHOTO/ COURTESY]“Please stand with me, and Professor Mwangi, as we face ongoing hateful defamatory backlash from Mr. Mochama and his supporters and enablers. Private messages of support are not enough. Please follow, retweet and amplify wambui_mwangi and #StopTonyMochama. Share Keguro’s blogpost and the Storify of Professor Mwangi’s tweets on Facebook, Twitter, listserves and all your platforms. Share your own experiences of harassment, assault, and holding predators accountable within movements,” she urged.
With aggression, Wambui took to social media tagging all top organization and renowned people who may have come into contact with Tony Mochama all in a bid to get their attention.
Mochama moved to court and filed a defamation suit, after what he termed as a social media judgement.
“Much as they may prefer a trial through Twitter and other 21st century forms of witch hunting! Jesus was falsely accused and crucified. I refuse to follow his noble example. Slap me, but do not expect me to meekly turn the other cheek,” he said.
Tony was then a columnist with Kenya’s Standard Group, Secretary of PEN Kenya, and holder of a Morland Writing Scholarship.
It is reported that Mr Mochama lost several jobs at that time, after the alleged scandal went viral and human resource officers were called and forced to end his contracts.