Government Printers gazette editor Philemon Kapukanya has testified in the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court that in 1986, President Edgar Lungu advertised for the change of his names to include “Chagwa”.

Meanwhile, a Registrar at the University of Zambia (UNZA) testified that President Lungu was a student at the institution from 1978 to 1981, adding that according to the booklet of the graduate directory, the Head of State graduated with a merit.

This is the matter in which New Labour Party leader Fresher Siwale is charged with defamation of the President.

Siwale is alleged to have on April 22, 2018, with intent to bring the name of President Edgar Lungu into ridicule, did publish defamatory matter by word of mouth to which he said ‘the President of the Republic of Zambia is not the actual Edgar Chagwa Lungu but Jonathan Mutawale, he must be arrested for having three National Registration Cards, he is an identity thief’.

Previously, Department of National Registration, Passport and Citizenship registrar Agness Musonda testified that ‘Edgar Lungu’ was born in Ndola in 1956 and that he applied to add the name “Chagwa” in 1986.

When the matter came up for continued trial before Principle resident magistrate Alice Walusiku, Tuesday, Philemon Kapukanya told the court that on April 25, last year, he received a write up from the Office of the Inspector General of Police, requesting verification of an advert that concerned President Lungu.

He added that the gazette was dated November 19, 1986, number 3037 volume XX118, page 958, where the current President advertised the change of name from Edgar Lungu to “Edgar Chagwa Lungu”.

“The advert reads… ‘Notice of change of name by deed poll dated August 7, 1986 and registered at the principal registry of the High Court of Lusaka. I Edgar Chagwa Lungu of Lusaka, in the Lusaka district of the Republic of Zambia, a Zambian national by birth and holder of National Registration Card Number 216992/67/1, do hereby, absolutely relinquish and abandon the use of former name of Edgar Lungu and in real thereof to assume as from the date of this presence, the name of Edgar Chagwa Lungu. I hereby declare that I shall at all time hereafter, in all dealings and transactions and upon all occasions whatsoever, use, sign, subscribe the said name of Edgar Chagwa Lungu,” read the gazette.

Asked in cross examination by defence lawyers Keith Mweemba and Gilbert Phiri if there was evidence that the current President was the one who applied to change the names, the witness said source documents were kept by the Department of National Registration, Passport and Citizenship.

He added that the gazette did not take pictures of the people applying for change of names.

The witness later disclosed that source documents are destroyed, and admitted that since the documents were destroyed and did not exist, it could never be certain if the applicant was the current Head of State.

He also admitted that there could be many “Edgar Chagwa Lungus” and that he was incompetent to comment on who the applicant of the deed poll was in person.

The State witness further admitted that he couldn’t tell the nationality and parentage of “Edgar Chagwa Lungu” given that the source documents of the applicant were no longer in existence.

Meanwhile, Sitali Wamundila, a registrar at UNZA testified that on April 27, 2018, he received a letter from police requesting for information from the institution regarding students between 1978 and 1981.

He added that the letter specified to aid in the investigations in the matter of defamation of the President.

“When I received that inquiry, being the custodian of student information, I got to the records and retrieved the file with the names of the President since it was specified in the request. Upon opening it, I found a photograph, passport sized photo for his Excellency which I was able to identify and there were papers in the file. Among them were an application form and a letter that came from the University which indicated his admission to the University,” Wamundila said.

He added that the file also contained a transcript of his results and when he completed.

Wamundila told the court that he also checked the booklet of the graduate directory where he found the names of the President, “Edgar Chagwa Lungu”.

The witness added that according to the booklet, President Lungu graduated with a merit in 1981.

In cross examination, Wamundila explained to the court that the acceptance letter which was addressed to “M Lungu” was a typographical error.

He added that the letter “M” did not refer to Mutawale but “Mr” as a title.

This was after defence lawyer Keith Mweemba put it to him that the “M” in the acceptance letter was in reference to Mutawale.

Trial continues.