Protea sues arts promoter for libel

Protea Hotel, Lusaka tower: File picture

PROTEA HOTEL Arcades has sued a Christian Arts Promotions member Jimmy Kumwenda in the Lusaka High Court for accusing the hotel of racism and discriminatory treatment.

Protea availed in a statement of claim filed in the principal registry today that the first defendant, Kumwenda, was a CHAPRO affiliate and that the second defendant, Isaac Chitibwe, was an affiliate of a Christian association called Brown and Chi.

Protea stated that Kumwenda and Chitibwe were its regular patrons and that on September 21, 2016, Chitibwe and other persons unknown sat in the hotel’s restaurant around 15:00hours when a senior waiter approached them to ask if they could move to an alternative area, since the restaurant closed at 15:00hours.

The hotel stated that a senior waiter asked Chitibwe and others to move to other available service areas such as the pool side, the lobby or the patio to enable the staff to prepare the restaurant for dinner and that Chitibwe and his companions complied.

Protea stated that on the following day around 10:00 hours, however, Kumwenda requested to meet the hotel’s general manager alleging that he had heard that Chitibwe and his friends were chased from the hotel the previous day.

The plaintiff availed that Protea general manager, R. Holland, agreed to meet the first defendant and his colleague and explained to them, in the presence of food and beverage manager Masinja Banda, that it was not true that some guests were chased from the plaintiff hotel the previous day.

The Hotel further stated that on September 23, at around 10:00 hours Kumwenda and Chitibwe arrived at the Hotel with a crowd of people with cameras and that upon seeing Holland, Kumwenda shouted: “Here is the racist that chased me from the hotel!”

The hotel submitted that since Kumwenda and Chitibwe’s approach was so aggressive, Holland refused to give them audience but that the two went ahead and gave Muvi Television false statements which were later broadcast.

According to the claim, the video recording attributed to Kumwenda alleged that there were two groups of black and white people in the restaurant working and having meals but that the group of black people were chased.

“They were chased out of the restaurant and a group of white people remained in the restaurant that was said to have been closed. It’s a very, very, very sad situation. So we want Zambians to be respected. If you are paying for a service, you need to get respect that you deserve for the service you are paying for,” Kumwenda is alleged to have said.

Protea stated that Kumwenda’s words meant that the hotel tolerated racism and discrimination.

Protea is therefore seeking damages for slanderous remarks and libel as well as other reliefs that the court might deem fit.

         

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