Lusaka magistrate Felix Kaoma has ordered President Edgar Lungu’s press aide Amos Chanda and Daily Nation proprietor Richard Sakala to appear before him on June 27 to answer for charges of contempt instigated by UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema.
And HH has also dragged Religious Affairs Minister to court for her statement that he was in court because he “pushed President Lungu to the wall”.
In separate complaints, Hichilema and five others, cited Chanda, Sakala and the Daily Nation, over a story headlined ‘HH acted foolishly’ that the newspaper published on June 1 quoting President Lungu’s press aide who appeared on an Al Jazeera ‘The Stream’ Programme on May 30.
Chanda had stated that “…there was no witch-hunt in the arrest of Mr Hichilema as the predicament he faced was purely out of his recklessness and foolish behaviour of endangering the life of the President even after power sirens signaled the coming of the presidential motorcade”, remarks which HH said were highly prejudicial or capable of prejudicing him in the treason matter where the courts are supposed to determine whether he and others were criminals.
He stated that Chanda’s comment was libelous and was intended to injure the reputation of the complainants by exposing them to hatred, contempt or ridicule.
In the first count of contempt, it is alleged that Chanda, Sakala and Daily Nation between May 1 and June 1 in Lusaka, jointly and whilst acting together with other persons unknown while judicial proceedings involving Hichilema and five others were pending before court, made use of speech and published in writing an article which was contemptuous or prejudicial.
Count two alleges that Chanda and two others published defamatory matter contrary to the Laws of Zambia during the same period that injured the reputation of the complainants.
Yesterday, Magistrate Kaoma signed summons for Chanda, Sakala and the newspaper which read; “You are hereby commanded in the name of the President to appear in person before this honorable court at Lusaka Magistrate Court on the 27th day of June at 08:30 hours, 2017 and on every adjournamdent until the case is disposed off.”
And in another complaint HH and his co-accused similarly stated that Sumaili’s statement on Zambia Blog Radio last month that ‘HH pushed Lungu to the wall…by refusing to accept his presidency’ was libelous.
But two magistrates have so far recused themselves from handling the case.
The matter was first allocated to magistrate Thandose Chabala before it was taken to senior magistrate Ireen Wishimanga but both magistrates recused themselves.
The case is yet to be re-allocated.