PATRIOTIC Front supporter has dragged a fellow party member to the Lusaka High Court for allegedly accusing him of being a professional assassinator and shooting dead an individual in Kaoma District.
Francis Muchemwa, who has sued Innocent Kalimashi, wants damages for slander and libel; an Order of Injunction restraining Kalimashi from repeating the defamatory statements until final determination of the matter, interests and costs.
In a statement of claim filed in the Lusaka High Court Principal Registry, June 17, Muchemwa stated that he and Kalimashi were businessmen and members of the Patriotic Front government.
He stated that on or about December, 2019, and May, 2020, Kalimashi, in contumelious disregard of his reputation and professional standing, uttered defamatory words against him alleging, among others, that he (Muchemwa) was a professional assassinator and was hired by government to murder and kill any persons.
“The defendant (Kalimashi) uttered and caused to be published on various social media platforms, including, but not limited to: Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter, the following words with the following translation from Bemba to English: ‘The plaintiff (Muchemwa) did cause the death of one individual called…(hereinafter called the deceased). The plaintiff did fire a firearm towards the deceased and caused his death in Kaoma District…’,” read the statement of claim.
“…‘The plaintiff is a violent individual who causes harm to a number of individuals. The plaintiff is a professional assassinator and is hired by the government to murder and kill any persons who offend the government and the plaintiff has caused the death of various individuals in Zambia and is being protected by the Government of Zambia. The plaintiff is allowed to misappropriate government resources for his own good and benefit and has taken part in corrupt activities with Chilufya Tayali’.”
The claimant stated that the said words had been aired a number of times on various social media platforms, adding that in their natural and ordinary meaning, the words complained of meant and were understood to mean that he was a murderer and a corrupt person and had misappropriated government funds for personal financial gain.
He lamented that Kalimashi had unjustly caused harm to his reputation and continued to do so by the circulation of the slanderous audios and video recording, which were accessible to millions of Internet users, both at home and abroad.
Muchemwa stated that Kalimashi had never bothered to follow due process of enquiring from the proper channels or from him as to the accuracy of the defamatory statements and the investigations as to who and what caused the death of the deceased.
“The defendant repeatedly communicated and published the words complained of with full knowledge that they were slanderous and libellous, with a reckless disregard as to whether or not they were true, slanderous and libellous. The defendant continued his conduct of repeating falsehoods without getting the plaintiff’s side of the story affording him an opportunity to refute the said falsehoods,” read the statement of claim.
He further stated that the defendant caused the said words to be published in order to bring him into ridicule, to the detriment of his reputation and the material losses that he would suffer in his professional and social life.
Muchemwa added that the allegations were all false and untrue and that at no time did he cause the death of any individual in Zambia.
He stated that unless restrained, Kalimashi would continue to make false allegations and drag his name into disrepute.
The claimant stated that he had tried to engage with Kalimashi in an attempt to receive a public apology, but to no avail.
Muchemwa stated that Kalimashi had ignored all possible forums for a resolution of the dispute.