PRESIDENTIAL senior private secretary Alfred Chipoya and MUVI television journalist Innocent Phiri have testified in a case Patriotic Front chairperson for information and publicity Raphael Nakacinda sis charged with defamation of the President.
It is alleged that on December 13, last year in Lusaka, Nakacinda, with intent to bring the President’s name into disrepute, hatred, ridicule or contempt, allegedly caused to be published defamatory matter against Mr Hichilema.
The purported defematory words were uttered when Mr Nakacinda was addressing journalists at the High Court. He alleged that President Hichilema was meeting judges at his house to discuss the case involving PF lawmakers who had at the time been suspended from attending Parliament.
But during trial before Lusaka Magistrate Irene Wishimanga today, Mr Chipoya said the President did not meet any judges between the first week of December and December 22,2021.
“The President never had an appointment from any magistrate, judge or Judiciary officer,” he said.
Mr Chipoya further narrated that on December 22, 2021, police from Head quarter’s Criminal Investigations Division visited his office to check for appointments in the President’s diary.
They wanted to check for appointments between the first week of December to December 22,2021.
Mr Chipoya said a police officer asked whether the President had met any judges or anyone from the Judiciary during that period under investigations.
He said he explained to the officer that the President had not met any officer, judges or magistrate during that period in question.
In cross examination, a defence lawyer asked him if he was able to tell court, the names of people who met the President in the first week of December.
In response, the witness said he cannot do so off the cuff.
Further asked if he can recollect people who visited the President on December 13, Mr Chipoya said he could not.
Later, Mr Phiri, a head of current affairs and productions at Muvi TV, testified that on December 13, 2021, he covered an event at the High Court.
“I covered an event involving Honourable Raphael Nakacinda who was among PF members of Parliament who had gone to the Lusaka High Court to offer solidarity to some Members of Parliament from the PF who had been expelled from Parliament by Speaker of the National Assembly madam Nelly Mutti,” Mr Phiri said.
He narrated that after the court case Mr Nakacinda was attending was adjourned, the accused, the company of other PF senior members, began addressing the media pertaining the outcome of the court hearing involving PF lawmakers.
Mr Phiri told the court that “Honourable Nakacinda informed the press that he had received information indicating that President Hakainde Hichilema was intending to summon the judges at his community house with intention to interfere into the affairs of the Judiciary in line with the case they had submitted before the court”.
He said afterwards, he went to the office and wrote the story he covered at the High Court involving Mr Nakacinda and the same was aired on main news and late bulletin