JUSTICE Minister Given Lubinda has dragged Republican Progressive Party (RPP) leader James Lukuku to the Lusaka High Court for accusing him of being a foreigner and questioning his patriotism to the country.
Lubinda is seeking damages for libel and an order of interlocutory injunction restraining Lukuku, his servants and agents, from publishing similar libelous and malicious videos and articles relating to him.
He is further claiming an order of permanent injunction, punitive and exemplary damages, interest on the said damages and costs.
In his statement of claim filed in the Lusaka High Court, Lubinda who is also Kabwata PF member of parliament, stated that sometime in June this year, Lukuku recorded himself in an untitled video in which he confidently stated that he (Lubinda) was a foreigner, and further questioned his patriotism to Zambia.
“The Defendant (Lukuku) particularly stated as follows: ‘When you look at Given Lubinda you should ask him before you start talking about Bill 10; where is your National Registration Card? It’s going to be interesting for you to check on the National Registration Card of Given Lubinda so that you can ascertain if that person has got the nation at heart. When you meet Lubinda, before he talks about Bill 10, ask him who is his Chief, Chief wake ni ndani? The other question that you are supposed to ask Given Lubinda is, ask him what’s the name of his father and mother?…And ask him what kind of a nationality he is because some of these people you don’t even know ku sukulu kwa mene bana yenda ngati ni kuti. They have formulated a new Bill 10 nomba ewo bepwishe ni nani pali iyo Bill 10 iyo apangile iya new. Why is it that at every corner it is foreigners invading this country? But we know of people that have got questionable nationalities. They are at the forefront of formulating Bill 10. Cino ichalo democracy nga ya onaika ifi fine balefwaya ukonaula Parliament. Once Parliament is destroyed Given Lubinda is not going to be affected by any chaos that we can have in this country because even his children don’t stay in Zambia’,” read the claim.
Lubinda stated that the said words in their natural and ordinary meaning meant and had been understood to mean that he was an imposter, a fraud, a cheater and was not patriotic to Zambia.
He added that the words were also understood to mean that he did not care for Zambians, he forged or fabricated his primary and secondary school certificates, was a thief and did not respect land alienation procedures.
Lubinda stated that the video had been widely published and circulated on social media, and electronic media in general, within and outside the jurisdiction.
“On the basis of the foregoing, in the estimation of ordinary and right thinking members of the public, the plaintiff (Lubinda) has suffered, and continues to suffer, scandal, ridicule, odium, contempt, and embarrassment generally,” read the statement of claim.
He stated that the words complained of were false and were maliciously published by Lukuku without lawful excuse.
Lubinda further stated that politics was not about character assassination but about putting forth developmental ideas and policies.
He stated that freedom of expression and all media freedoms were not a passport to attacking private lives, and generally character assassination of political opponents, and accordingly, the aforesaid freedoms were not absolute.