Socialist Party Leader Fred M’membe has lost a defamation suit against Rainbow Party President Wynter Kabimba in the Lusaka High Court. Lausaka High Court Judge Sharon Newa has ruled that the alleged defamatory words that Mr. M’membe complained about have been interpreted by the court as fair comment.
Judge Newa has also quashed the claim for damage of defamation of character by Mr. M’membe against Mr. Kabimba.
Socialist Party General Secretary Cosmas Musumali was the second plaintiff in the matter while Millennium Radio Station Manager Patricia Chibiliti was the second defendant.
Both Fred M’membe and Cosmas Musumali had sued Wynter Kabimba in the Lusaka High Court for defamation of character and were seeking an injunction to restrain him from issuing homosexual remarks against them.
Dr M’membe, the Socialist Party’s 2021 presidential candidate and Dr Musumali also cited Daily Nation Newspaper Limited and Millennium Radio station manager Patricia Chibiliti.
According to a statement of claim filed in court, Dr M’membe and Dr Musumali were seeking damages for defamation of character following homosexual remarks the defendants issued and published against them.
The plaintiffs stated that on or about April 3, 2018, the defendants jointly and severally published or caused to be published during a radio interview and live Facebook false and malicious words concerning the plaintiffs.
It was stated that Kabimba while laughing and giggling the false and malicious words of or concerning the plaintiffs, before the volume was cut off of the live feed stated that; “You want me to be a homosexual in order to run a political party? With so many women in Lusaka, Why?”
Kabimba had also alleged that the financiers of the Socialist Party had objectionable sexual orientation.
The defendants jointly and severally published an article headlined, “Kabimba Spills Beans”, where he said the Socialist Party leaders broke away from Rainbow Party because they disagreed with their views on sexual orientation and radical approach against prayers.
It is alleged that Kabimba repeated the defamatory contents with intent to damage the reputation of the plaintiffs as persons aspiring to form government in Zambia.
Dr M’membe and Dr Musumali said the words complained of in their natural and ordinary meaning meant and were understood to mean that the plaintiffs were dishonest and lacked integrity thus not fit to hold public office as leaders of a political party.
The plaintiffs further stated that the accusations also meant that the Socialist Party was founded on immoral principles and values and that they got funding from immoral people and thus did not meet the ethical and integrity standards of a political party.
Dr M’membe and Dr Musumali contended that on April 4, 2018 the defendants and each of them refused to correct, retract and or tender an apology notwithstanding the written demand to do so and also did not bother to verify the truth of the wild and false statements before publishing them.
“The first defendant published the words complained of with intent to damage the reputation of the defendants as persons aspiring to form government in Zambia,” the plaintiffs stated.
They added that unless restrained by the court, the defendants and each of them would continue to publish or cause to be published the said or similar words defamatory to the plaintiffs.
The plaintiffs were therefore, claiming damages for defamation, exemplary damages and an injunction to restrain the defendants, their agents or servants from further publication of any defamatory articles about the plaintiffs.