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Journalist charged with defamation through Facebook

A journalist was on Tuesday charged in a Maua court with defaming a secondary school principal through his Facebook account.

Mr Gitonga Mithika from Mzalendo magazine committed the offence against Irene Wamucie of Kirindine Day Secondary School on July 24.

According to the charge sheet, the defamatory matter posted by Mr Gitonga was meant to give reasons as to why the students from the secondary school had gone on strike.

Read the charge sheet: “The headmistress is Irene Miriti, wife of the Igembe South ‘Project’ Rufus Miriti, the proprietor of Jo-Shrines schools. Some of the government employed teachers are used to teach Jo-Shrines Secondary school during official hours.”

It further indicated that books meant for Kirindine Day Secondary School’s library are transferred to Jo-Shrines school leaving students in the public school without books.

Printing of exams for Jo-Shrines, it indicated, is done at Kirindine. Further, the Kirindine school bus is used to source and carry nappier grass for Irene and Rufus Miriti’s zero grazing cows.

However, Mr Gitonga denied the charges before Senior Principal Magistrate Samuel Soita.

Through lawyer Hosea Mutembei, Mr Gitonga said the matter was politically instigated.

He said it was true there was a demonstration in the school and the students raised the same issues that the accused highlighted in his Facebook account.

“It is unfortunate that we are experiencing incidents where politicians are pushing police to arrest those who don’t share the same ideology with them. We pray this court does not consider this matter serious and give the accused person an appropriate bond terms,” Mr Mutembei said.

He said his client was considering filing a constitutional petition at the high court on the matter.

The prosecution accused the defence of arguing the case before it took off.

The prosecutor said the defence had failed to mention that there was tension on the ground concerning the matter and that they were considering further charges of incitement on the accused person.

Mr Soita granted the accused a Sh100, 000 bond or a cash bail of Sh30, 000.

He said the matter will be mentioned on August 16, when the defence and the prosecution will set a a hearing date.He also ordered the defence be supplied with all the documents prosecution intends to use to build their case.