Court tells Tayali to stop posting commentaries on Facebook

Chilufya Tayali being taken to Woodlands police cells from Lusaka's Magistrate Court-picture by Tenson Mkhala

Magistrate Silvia Munyinya has asked EEP leader Chilufya Tayali to do the right thing by desisting from posting running commentaries on social media regarding the matter in which he’s facing seven counts of contempt of court.

But Tayali says he has all the right to speak because that is his job as a politician.

In this matter, Tayali is accused of publishing defamatory statements against UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema and a Lusaka citizen, Edward Sichali.

Tayali is further accused of alleging that Sichali and Hichilema were involved in organising riots at UNZA.

And when the matter came up for commencement of trial before Magistrate Silvia Munyinya, Monday, the complainant’s lawyer Mulambo Haimbe, who was appearing with Dr Henry Mbushi, informed the court that they were ready to proceed with the matter.

However, Tayali’s lawyers Towela Nkhoma and Dinah Kapitolo applied for an adjournment, saying they couldn’t proceed with trial as they were just standing in for another lawyer, Jonas Zimba who was at High Court.

The two added that Zimba was the one with instructions from the accused and the two were just pre-instructed in the morning.

However, Haimbe said the defence’s application for an adjournment was shocking because the accused was given a benefit of doubt at last week’s hearing.

He objected to the application, observing that Tayali quite evidently did not follow the directives of the court and only engaged a lawyer in the morning.

In reply, the defence lawyers said they were on industrial break and only received full instructions that day, adding that they needed more time to be familiar with the case.

Although Magistrate Munyinya noted in her ruling that Tayali was given enough time to engage a counsel, she again granted the application for an adjournment.

At this point, Haimbe informed the court that he had been advised by the complainant, Sichali, that Tayali had taken to social media once again and was running commentaries on the matter in court as well as other matters.

He warned Tayali to desist from running commentaries or they would be forced to ask the court to order Tayali to show cause why he should not be held to account for such commentaries.

“The commentaries include allegations that various persons, magistrates and others have been paid in relation to this matter. The accused person should desist from running the commentaries or else we shall be constrained to ask the Court to order the accused person to come before court to show cause why he should not be held to account for such commentaries. We are ready to provide the necessary evidence of his behaviour to this court,” Haimbe said.

Magistrate Munyinya urged Tayali to do the right thing for the sake of progress.

“Accused, I’m not saying you did that because I don’t have evidence. For the sake of progress, let’s just do the right thing. We have limited time, so I don’t have time to be listening to these complaints! So, let’s just do the right thing,” Magistrate Munyinya said.

She then adjourned the matter to February 15 for commencement of trial.

But once outside Court, Tayali told off the complainant’s lawyers that he had the right to speak because that was his job as a politician.

“I have the right to talk. I’m doing my job as a politician!” insisted Tayali.




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