Rainbow party General Secretary Wynter Kabimba has denied defaming Socialist Party leaders Dr Fred M’membe and Dr Cosmas Musumali by charging that they are funded by homosexual organisations.
And Kabimba says his quoted homosexual remarks do not make any reference or point to the Socialist Party leaders, but instead constitute a fair comment on a matter of public interest and discourse in a Christian Nation.
Last month Dr M’membe and Dr Musumali jointly sued Kabimba, Daily Nation Newspaper Limited and Millennium Radio proprietor Patricia Chibiliti saying they had suffered considerable distress and embarrassment as the result of the publication of the defamatory words.
On April 3, 2018, Kabimba was featured on Millennium Radio’s ‘The Interview’ programme where he charged that leaders of the Socialist Party had left Rainbow Party after they differed on their beliefs in God and on receiving funding from homosexual organizations.
And in the defence filed in the Lusaka High court, June 28, Kabimba and Millennium Radio’s proprietor Patricia Chibiliti argued that the words which were uttered, in their overall context, did not point to the Plaintiffs as alleged.
“The 1st and 2nd Defendants admit paragraph 6 of the statement of claim but shall aver at trial that the said words in the circumstances and overall context do not make reference or point to the Plaintiffs as alleged and shall, therefore, put the Plaintiffs to strict proof thereof,” read the defence.
Kabimba stated that his remarks; ‘you want me to be a homosexual in order to run a political party? With so many women in Lusaka, why?’, constituted a fair comment on a matter of public interest and discourse in a Christian nation.
Meanwhile charged that several members of the Socialist Party had attended some trainings in Brazil which were organized by Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra, an organization which champions gay rights.
“The 1st and 2nd Defendants deny paragraph 8 of the statement of claim as alleged by the Plaintiffs. The 1st Defendant will, however, aver at trial that several Socialist Party members now including the Plaintiffs have attended and participated in some workshops and programmes in Brazil since 2015 organised and / or sponsored by the Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra ( MST Landless Rural Workers Movement). The 1st Defendant will further aver that MST through such workshops promotes inter alia the rights of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual) persons by seeking and building solidarity across all continents. The 1st Defendant will also aver that as an organisation MST’s objective is to drive and strengthen through its participants the struggles and visibility of LGBT as a project of constructing a socialist society,” read the defence.
Meanwhile, Kabimba and Chibiliti stated that at no point did the Rainbow Party leader give a statement to any reporter from Daily Nation, Mast Newspaper, News Diggers Newspaper or Joy FM to publish the words as alleged by the plaintiffs.
“The 1st Defendant denies paragraph 9 of the statement of claim and shall aver at trial that at no time did the 1st Defendant give a statement to any reporter of the 3rd Defendant or publish the words as alleged by the Plaintiffs or cause to be published the said words and shall put the Plaintiffs to strict-proof thereof. The 1st Defendant denies paragraph 11 of the statement of claim and repeats his averment in paragraph 9 and 10 herein and shall also aver at trial that any reference to the Socialist Party during the interview with the 2nd Defendant constituted fair comment on a matter of public interest and discourse in a Christian nation,” read the defence.
“The 1st Defendant denies paragraph 12 of the statement of claim and shall aver at trial that at no time did he publish or cause to be published in the Mast Newspaper the words alleged. The 1st Defendant, however, will also aver at trial that the alleged words do not make any reference or point to the Plaintiffs or at all.The 1st Defendant denies paragraph 14 of the statement of claim to the extent that he published or caused to be published in the News Diggers Newspaper the words complained of and shall aver at trial that the words alleged do not refer or point to the Plaintiffs.The 1st Defendant denies paragraph 16 of the statement of claim as the same is within the peculiar knowledge of the 1st Plaintiff who published or caused to be published on Joy FM the said words on his own admission.”
Kabimba insisted that there was no malice in his utterances.
“The 1st and 2nd Defendants deny paragraph 21 of the statement of claim and shall aver at trial that the words complained of do not refer or point to the Plaintiffs and that the Plaintiffs have, therefore, not been seriously injured in their reputation or brought into public ridicule, scandal or odium or that they have suffered distress and embarrassment as alleged and shall further aver at trial that there is no malice in the 1st and 2nd Defendants’ words as alleged as the same constitutes fair comment in a matter of public interest and discourse and that the Plaintiffs have not suffered any damage or at all,” read the defence.