Opposition Patriotic Front (PF) member of the Central Committee, Chishimba Kambwili, has appeared in the Kasama Magistrate Court for commencement of defense in the case in which he is charged with the offence of expressing hatred and ridicule for people based on tribe and place of origin.
Mr Kambwili, 54, of house number 9, Wisteria Avenue, Luanshya, appeared before Kasama Resident Magistrate, Samson Mumba.
Giving his evidence, Mr Kambwili argued that in his address during a radio programme at Radio Mano in Kasama in 2021, did not issue any hate speech against the Tonga people of Southern Province.
He said on the contrary, he was reacting to alleged tribal remarks attributed to the then opposition UPND president, Hakainde Hichilema and party member, Buumba Malambo in a video that went viral on social media.
Mr Kambwili added that his message was also centered on campaigning for the PF in the run up to the 2021 general elections.
“I am extremely shocked that my innocent address to the Zambians during the radio programme can be classified as hate speech and ridicule against the Tonga speaking people,” said Mr Kambwili.
He added that his message during the radio programme was centered on advising people not to tolerate politicians advocating for voting on tribal lines.
Mr Kambwili further questioned the evidence presented by the seven prosecution witnesses before the court alleging that the case seems to be that of political persecution and intimidation.
“The indictment drafters were merely cherry picking items in the recorded programme to suit their motives. As a politician, I have no reason to demean any of the 73 tribes domiciled in the Republic of Zambia,” he added.
However, the state lawyers objected to the move by the defense to play an audio recording in court as evidence because it contained some remarks that needed a Tonga interpreter.
Kasama Resident Magistrate, Samson Mumba ruled that the defense must therefore secure a Tonga interpreter.
Magistrate Mumba has since adjourned the matter to 20th October, 2023 for continued defense.