Lusaka Mayor Miles Sampa has told the Lusaka High Court that he will be prejudiced if it decides to set aside the default judgement entered against Matero PF member of parliament Loyd Kaziya in a matter where he has sued the parliamentarian for defaming him.
In February this year, Sampa sued Kaziya in Lusaka High Court, seeking damages for libel over an article, which was published in the New Vision newspaper last year entitled “Sampa Linked”.
In his statement of claim, Sampa complained that the alleged words used in the article were defamatory to him in the way of his work as the-then Matero member of parliament and as a Mayor.
He claimed that the words were understood to mean that he (Sampa) was guilty of serious offences of abuse of office and corruption.
Kaziya, however, failed to enter appearance and a defence within the time allocated to do so.
Consequently, a default judgement was entered against Kaziya on June 14 in favour of Sampa in which Kaziya was ordered to pay damages.
But Kaziya applied to the Court to stay the execution, pending his application to set aside the judgement in default, saying he had a valid defence to the claims and wanted to dispute Sampa’s claims.
He added that he was merely expressing his opinion as member of parliament for Matero constituency and he had been advised that opinions were not defamatory.
“I have a valid defence to the said claims and would like to dispute the claims upon which the judgement was entered. I deny making any statement that ridiculed or disgraced the plaintiff in any way to the media. I am advised that I have an absolute right to express my opinion and that opinions are not defamatory,” Kaziya had stated.
He stated that he did not enter his defence earlier because he was made to believe that Sampa would discontinue the matter after a few PF party officials mediated.
“I was unable to issue instructions to my advocates because I was made to believe that the plaintiff was going to discontinue the case after some PF officials mediated. It was on the premises of the mediation that I held back my defence as the plaintiff was to discontinue the matter,” stated Kaziya.
But in an affidavit in opposition to summons to set aside judgement in default of appearance and defence, Sampa stated that Kaziya had not exhibited a defence as required by law.
He added that he would be prejudiced if the application to set aside the default judgement was granted.
“I am advised by my counsel that the default judgement was properly entered after the conditional memorandum of appearance entered by Kaziya elapsed without making any application to set aside the writ of summons,” read Sampa’s affidavit.