Milk processor Brookside Limited, a firm associated with President Uhuru Kenyatta, has sued Nyali MP Mohammed Ali for making harmful comments against it.
In a case filed before Justice Anthony Mrima, the firm claims that the legislator told Nyeri residents on March 3, that the Kenyatta family has been exploiting both the farmer and the consumer.
Through Shapley Barret and company advocates, the firm indicates that Ali said that it has been buying milk at Sh20, boiling it and selling it at Sh120.
These remarks, the company argues, were meant to ignite public resentment against it.
“The statements were meant to and did cause public resentment against the petitioner, its business practice, and the products which the petitioner manufactures and sells as part of its business. The statement was meant to and did cause economic and commercial harm to the petitioner and its business,” said the company.
Further, the company indicates, the statement was false and a violation of its rights under Article 20, Article 33 (2) (d), and Article 27 of the Constitution.
Article 20 of the Constitution provides that every person has a right to enjoy fundamental freedoms on the bill of rights, while Article 33 (2) (d) limits the freedom of expression by providing that this right does not extend to the advocacy of hatred.
The Article states that hatred constitutes ethnic incitement, verification of others, or incitement to cause harm or is based on any ground of discrimination specified in Article 27.
On the other hand, Article 27 stipulates that all persons are equal before the law and have a right not to be discriminated against.
Brookside’s company secretary Jacob Ombongi disputed that the company is solely owned by the First family.
In his supporting affidavit, Ombongi said the company is owned by both local and international investors and shareholders. International investors, he submitted, own 40 percent of the company.
Local shareholders, he swore, include some of the members of Kenyatta’s family hence his association to the firm.
“H.E Uhuru Kenyatta, the President of the Republic of Kenya is a member of the Kenyatta family. Brookside Dairy Limited is the only company operating the above milk processing business with which H.E Uhuru Kenyatta is associated through ownership by some of his family members,” says Ombongi.
He adds: “The said words were understood in the public to refer to the petitioner, its business practices, and its products. In particular, the petitioner represented to the public by implication or otherwise that the petitioner carried on its business unlawfully or fraudulently by exploiting and underpaying farmers who supply milk to it as its raw material.”
The company wants the court to prohibit Ali from stirring up the public against it. Additionally, Brookside is requesting a court order for the lawmaker to protect its rights, reputation, and pay damages for any harm done.