There is a tabloid story circulating on the Internet involving the PM and his family that I have been asked to comment or debate by a blogger elsewhere. I have declined to do so and post herewith my reasons in my response to the blogger which follows:
My brother, you are mixing two separate issues: defending RAO against lies, distortions, innuendos, embellishments, half-truths, and propaganda while informing folk here on the net and elsewhere about Raila’s leadership qualities is something I and others are comfortable and quite capable of doing anytime and it matters not a bit who it is we go against in doing so.
Commenting or debating on, or “debating” allegations of the magnitude contained in a tabloid magazine of disrepute such as the one you have circulated and would like us to “debate,” however, is quite a different thing which it is unnecessary and inappropriate for any of us to comment on or debate as none of us have neither the intellectual basis nor the facts to do so.
The claims and allegations, if there is anything to it all worth it, is the province of investigative authorities and mainstream media to deal with.
In other words, there is a difference between expressing views and opinion about things we know or have a good sense of and expressing views and opinions about things we have no clue or knowledge of other than what appears in a tabloid of disrepute such as the one you have circulated.
Having said this, let me hasten to add a few things: First, if this story had anything to it, it would be splashed in mainstream media.
Second, even if the story does not appear in mainstream media, if there is anything to it, it would rightly be a matter as I have indicated above under the purview of KACC which has the jurisdiction to investigate, not debate it.
Third, even though expression of opinion and views is protected under our Constitution, I can tell you as a lawyer anyone who repeats a matter that is later found to be slanderous or libelous is equally liable to the same for damages.
Thus, you cannot repeat a defamatory statement or rumor just because you read or heard it somewhere else, including the media—tabloid trash or otherwise.
In fact, the tabloid or medium from which you obtain and repeat the defamatory statement or rumor can be sued and get away with it because they may have technical legal defenses to a defamation lawsuit not available to you the average Jane or John Doe who is just smearing and slandering away for the sake of it.
For these reasons, brother, I respectfully decline to be engaged in this so called debate and urge others not to for the same reasons.
My decision is therefore based on principle and has nothing to do with my strong support for Raila; I would actually say exactly the same thing and reach the same conclusion, if the story involved anyone else, including the renegade Ruto, who I have actually offered a legal defense for his ICC charges in my blog Who Is William Ruto Part V in which I conclude Ruto will be acquitted either at the Hague on in Kenya, a blog and conclusion that does not auger well with many of my friends and staunch ODM supporters.
On the other hand, my decision not to debate this tabloid story is not because I am afraid to debate it as you suggest neither is it because I am “subjected to the herd mentality that does not allow diversity of opinion” from Nyanza or because I have “run out of ink” to defend Raila as you equally claim; far from it.
I have decided not to debate this matter as you had hoped, again, on principle just as my support for Raila is based on principle as explained in my Why I Support Rt. Hon. Raila Amolo Odinga for President 2012 blog.
Raila enjoys and will continue to enjoy my unswerving loyalty and support to the day he is elected president and beyond.
A story appearing in a trashy tabloid does not change that fact.
Peace, Love and Unity.
Samuel N. Omwenga, Esq.