State House Chief of Staff Nzioka Waita has threatened to sue the Standard newspaper over a story that alleged that he had fallen out with the executive.
According to the article published on its daily edition of October 11, Mr Waita is fighting to save his job, following a vicious power struggle involving State House insiders which has seen him take a “sabbatical”.
“The entire content of the impugned article contains extremely false, deeply untrue and recklessly libellous information. It appears that your newspaper’s sole intention of publishing the article is to damage the reputation of our client in the eyes of right-thinking members of society,” Waita says through a letter written to the Standard by his Lawyer Manyonge Wanyama.
The article, titled ‘The big war in Uhuru’s State House’, also alleged that there was a big probability that Waita had handed in his resignation letter, in a vicious war that had been triggered by the expected exit of Head of Civil Service Joseph Kinyua in January.
In the letter, Waita refutes allegations that he had fallen out with his deputy Njee Muturi, State House Comptroller Kinuthia Mbugua and Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho as alleged by the paper.
“The article is not only false but also surpassingly defamatory. The article’s prominence as well as the allegations made concerning our client indicate that your newspaper maliciously caused it to be published. The article has greatly inflicted great damage on our client’s reputation and has exposed him to public ridicule, odium, suspicion, opprobrium and contempt,” adds the letter.
According to the paper, the transfer of the Presidential Delivery Unit from his docket to Interior Ministry under Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i in an Executive Order in August came as a demotion to Waita.
He is also accused by the paper of influencing the appointment of Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai and Kenya Railways boss Philip Mainga, since they are his tribesmen.
Waita now wants the paper to publish an apology in similar prominence with the story, and also be compensated for the alleged defamation.
“In this regard, our client instructs us to demand, which we hereby do, that you publish a clear apology, of equal prominence as the article, acknowledging the failings or fault of your newspaper in recklessly publishing the article; and admit that you defamed our client whereupon we shall discuss the suitable quantum of damages that our client is entitled to,” the lawyer says.
The management of the Standard Media Group is yet to respond to the letter.
If Waita makes his threats real, this will be the first hurdle Standard managing editor Denis Galava faces less than a month after he was appointed.
Managing editors are responsible for approving or rejecting story pitches from writers, or assigning stories.