Court bars Moses Kuria from attacking media in case calling for his dismissal

Moses Kuria

Trade Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

The court has barred the Trade Cabinet Secretary (CS) Moses Kuria from uttering any vilifying words against any media practitioner until a petition filed seeking orders to declare the CS as unfit to hold public office is heard and determined.

This comes after a petitioner-Charles Mugane, moved to court after a series of harsh statements made by the CS against the Nation Media Group (NMG) for publishing an exposé detailing how unlawful tax exemptions related to oil imports could have cost taxpayers loses amounting to Sh10 bllion.

In his petition, Mr Mugane opines that Mr Kuria’s statement “Message is clear” posted on June 18, 2023 at around 10:28pm via his verified Twitter account while referring to a video where he spilled vitriol against Nation Media Group and cautioned any government agencies from placing advertisement with the Group.

The petition added that at around 11:08 pm on the same day, CS Kuria used a derogatory term referring to NMG staff saying they can still advertise auctioneers and funeral announcements.

The CS used another disparaging term to refer to the same staff on June 19 at around 10:01pm.

Mr Mugane argued that a direct link between the exposé by NMG on the Sunday Nation issue of June 18, 2023 on page six and the dishonorable tweets by CS Kuria can be drawn which action is retaliatory in nature against the reporting on the possible loss of public revenue.

“There stands to be a grave risk of intimidation and harassment of journalists, media and members of the fourth estate in general by the government and in particular, CS Kuria and consequently breac of fundamental freedom of media guaranteed under Article 34 of the constitution if the prayers sought herein are not guaranteed,” part of the petition read.

For the petitioner, the said use of derogatory words by Mr Kuria is a gross breach of Chapter Six of the Constitution of Kenya and the Leadership and Integrity Act, Number 19 of 2012.

Further, Mr Mugane wants the court to find the Cabinet Secretary guilty of contravening the mandatory constitutional provisions of Articles 1,2, 3(1), 10 (2), 34 (1) and (2), 47, 73(!1)(a), 75 (1) and 232 of the Constitution “which underpins the substantive and procedural constitutional and statutory requirements for public service”

“The contravention of the above constitutional provisions cannot go unaddressed as the court is the last line of defence of the constitution,” the petitioner argued.

In the event the court fails to grant the sought orders, there would cause irreparable harm to the public and it is in the pubic interest that the same be averted by issuance of the order sought by the petition, the petitioner argued.

The court certified the matter as urgent, directed the accused CS to file a rejoinder within seven days.

“Pending the hearing and determination of this application, and injunction be and is hereby issued against Cabinet Secretary…Moses Kuria preventing him from uttering and expressing any insulting, demeaning, belittling, condescending, disdainful, disparaging or vilifying words against any Media Practitioner(s),” Justice Lawrence Mugambi ordered.