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Media houses ask court to dismiss Kidero case

Two leading media houses have asked the High Court to dismiss a case in which Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero is seeking to stop journalists from linking him with Mumias Sugar’s financial woes.

Lawyers representing Nation Media Group and Standard Group argued that the petition was improperly before the civil court as matters raised in the suit were constitutional.

The lawyers said that the suit should have been filed at the constitutional court because Dr Kidero claims that articles published by the two newspapers had violated his rights.

“The suit is incompetent, frivolous and vexatious and should be struck out,” said the lawyers.

Justice Alfred Mabea heard that Dr Kidero’s petition was an abuse of the court process as it does not comply with rules for filing constitutional matters.

Ms Jan Mohammed for the Nation Media Group told the court that by invoking the Constitution, Dr Kidero’s case was clearly a constitutional one.

“The prejudice we suffer is that we do not know what case we are fighting,” she said.

GAG ORDERS

Mr Patrick Lutta, for the Standard Group, while submitting grounds for opposing the suit, said Dr Kidero could not obtain the gag orders in the application because it would infringe on his clients’ constitutional rights and public duty.

“We raised the objection because the case had been brought under Article 33 of the Constitution. The case was, therefore, improperly before the civil court. If the judge agrees with us, then the suit must be struck out.

“The plaintiff is a public figure and the company in question is a public entity, and therefore, Dr Kidero’s private interests do not outweigh the public interest,” argued Mr Lutta in his preliminary objections.

The media firms argued that Dr Kidero had not met the minimum threshold for the grant of an order of interim injunctions.

Justice Mabea will, On March 27, deliver the ruling that will determine whether the case will proceed.

Dr Kidero had filed the suit in a bid to defend his nine-year tenure at the helm of Mumias.