A MAN accused by United Party for National Development (UPND) president Hakainde Hichilema’s wife, Mutinta, of planning to kill the opposition leader has sued her demanding K5 billion as compensation for libel and slander.
According to a statement of claim filed in the Lusaka High Court yesterday, Simon Bobo, a social and economic anthropologist, has told the court that on May 30 this year, at Lusaka Central Correctional Facility, Mrs Hichilema allegedly issued a fabricated story to the press accusing him of wanting to kill her incarcerated husband because he was clad in a Patriotic Front (PF) branded hat.
Mr Bobo has, however, submitted that he went to the correctional facility to visit his cousin, who is one of the inmates.
“The plaintiff was taken to the police headquarters for interrogation which later revealed that there was no evidence to the claims made by the defendant and he was made to pay K54.00 which was for the disturbances likely to cause breach of peace.
“During the stay of the plaintiff in cells, he was made to stay with other people and one of them got a picture of him purporting that it was a remembrance during his stay in the cells, but to his surprise, the same picture was cropped and was used to publish a statement on an online publication called Zambian Eagle,” he stated.
Mr Bobo says according to the publication in question, he was identified as one of the key men President Lungu had allegedly assigned to kill Hichilema.
He further submitted that the statement was also published in the Mast newspaper and online publication, Zambian Watchdog.
Mr Bobo said Mrs Hichilema has not retracted the statement despite being asked to do so, hence his decision to drag her to court.
He described her statement as malicious and injurious to his personal image which has also comprised the safety of his family and affected his standing in the country and across the world.
Mr Bobo is now claiming K5 billion being compensation for libel and slander and wants exemplary damages for harassment and emotional turmoil suffered as a result of the slanderous statements.
He is also claiming an order of injunction to restrain the defendant by herself or any other persons and authorised by her or in any way related or connected to the matter from writing or causing to be written or circulated.
Meanwhile, the Kabwe Magistrate’s Court has jailed Collister Progress Shimunzhila, a member of the United Party for National Development (UPND), for four months for defaming President Lungu.
Resident magistrate Sibaleya Chikuba sentenced Shimunzhila on Wednesday when the matter came before him for judgment.
On October 4, 2016, in Kabwe with intent to bring the name of the President into hatred, ridicule or contempt, Shimunzhila did publish defamatory remarks, but denied committing the offence when he appeared for plea.
“I conclude finally that the prosecution has proved its case beyond all doubt and I find the accused guilty of the offence of defamation of the President contrary to Section 69 of Penal Code, chapter 87 of the Laws of Zambia, and I convict him accordingly,” Mr Chikuba said.
During trial, Central Province Minister Sydney Mushanga, who was the key witness, testified that on October 4, 2016 around 11:13 hours, he received a message defaming the President from Shimunzhila via his mobile phone WhatsApp messaging application.