Political commentator and PF government sympathiser Chilufya Tayali yesterday got an ironically rough and painful escort by paramilitary police who rescued him from a beating by angry UPND cadres outside the Lusaka Magistrate’s court.
Tayali was expected in court to take plea in a matter where he is charged with publishing defamatory matters against opposition UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema.
But a mob of well built UPND youths that was also at court to give solidarity to their leader, landed on the outspoken EEP president to settle their scores before the court could hear him.
Police quickly swung into action with a brutal protection of the victim, that almost interrupted all court proceedings, as a result of the commotion. The officers were seen grabbing Tayali by his torn jacket and necktie, and dragging him to a court room where he was locked up for safety.
After a few minutes, the police managed to calm the situation and Tayali appeared in the dock, entering the court room from a different entrance.
When the indictment was read to him, Tayali denied the charge against him after earlier complaining to the court that he wasn’t ready to take plea because his body was in pain as a result of the beating.
Tayali’s lawyers had told the court that their client’s mental faculty was not in order because of the punches he had received hence he was not ready to take plea.
In this matter, Hichilema has dragged Tayali to court for publishing defamatory matters against him.
It is alleged that Tayali on dates unknown but between October 1, 2018 and October 9, 2018, in Lusaka, did unlawfully publish defamatory matter concerning Hakainde Hichilema, with intent to injure his reputation by exposing him to hatred, contempt and ridicule and to damage him in his profession, trade and standing in society.
Tayali allegedly published defamatory matter concerning Hichilema in form of a facebook post and by publication on various media including through videos and on radio where he said “Ba Lungu please wake up, HH wants to usurp power using civil disobedience and violence…”
This matter is being privately prosecuted by lawyers: Nelly Mutti, Jack Mwimbu, Mulambo Haimbe, Lastone Mwanabo and Zevyanji Sinkala.
Tayali’s lawyers include: Osrbone Ngoma, Towela Nkhoma and Jonas Zimba.
The prosecution and defence argued back and forth over Tayali’s condition and whether he was ready to take plea or not.
At one point, Tayali stood up and showed the court his torn jacket and saying he was in pain.
But magistrate Felix Kaoma instructed his lawyers to tell their client to behave himself, saying it was his court and not a political rally hence he needed to follow the court’s rules.
His lawyers then apologized and asked the court to order that security was heartened for both the defence and prosecution team in the wake of the attack on Tayali.
But Hichilema’s lawyers objected to the application on grounds that there was no medical proof that Tayali was unwell.
However, magistrate Kaoma ruled that Tayali should go ahead and take plea since he already had instructions from his lawyers.
After the charges were ready to him, Tayali denied the charge.
The court then adjourned the matter to November 30 and urged Tayali to avoid making commentaries on the matter in court.
He also urged Hichilema to guide his supporters.
“Accused must not make commentaries in relation to the matter before court. If at all the attackers are known, let them be reported to the police. President of the party let’s guide our followers. No one should attack another person I believe we are a civilised nation,” said magistrate Kaoma.