Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) president Eddie Mwitwa has sued Lusaka lawyer Tutwa Ngulube in the Lusaka High Court, claiming damages for defamation of character for accusing him of being used by UPND to fight political battles.
Mwitwa is seeking aggravated and exemplary damages for libel and slander.
He is further seeking damages for inconvenience, mental stress and anguish, as well as, interest on any sums awarded from the date of writ to the date of full settlement, costs and any other relief the court might deem fit.
Ngulube, who is also Kabwe Central PF member of parliament, said in an audio recording on ZNBC main news, that he was supporting other lawyers who wanted to impeach Mwitwa for being used to fight political battles on behalf of UPND.
“I would like to support the calls of State Counsel Sakwiba Sikota and other learned State Counsel who have come out in the open and said they would like us to impeach the LAZ president Mr Eddie Mwitwa for dragging the name of the association into serious disrepute and also for being used to fight political battles on behalf of a named opposition political party, the UPND,” said Ngulube.
“It is very clear that Mr Mwitwa, whose term of office is coming to an end would like to leave a trail of destruction on behalf of the Law Association of Zambia…”
But in a statement of claim filed in the Lusaka High Court, Thursday, Mwitwa stated that Ngulube’s words had been circulating on social media platforms like Facebook, Whatsapp and were reiterated and published on internet websites and newspapers such as the ‘Lusaka Times’ in an Article titled ‘Tutwa Leads Call for Impeachment of Current LAZ executive’ dated August 15, 2019, as well as, Zambian Observer and Zambia Reports.
He stated that in their natural meaning, the words uttered by Ngulube meant that he was an unethical and an unprofessional lawyer.
Mwitwa further stated that in an article published in the Daily Nation newspaper on August 17 this year, titled ‘643 lawyers nod Mwitwa impeachment’ Ngulube said ‘he had evidence that he (Mwitwa) was paid by the UPND to fight the Constitution Amendment Bill’.
He added that similar words were published in the News Digers newspaper dated August 20, where Ngulube said ‘he was ready to face the LAZ president in court because he was on firm ground that he was paid to fight the Constitution Amendment Bill’.
Mwitwa stated that Ngulube refused to apologise for the alleged defamatory words when he requested him to do so and instead dared him to institute court actions if he was man enough.
“By way of a letter, Mwitwa through his advocates, requested Ngulube to publicly apologise to him for the said defamatory words but Ngulube failed, neglected or refused to apologise but instead publicly dared Mwitwa to institute the present action against him stating that Mwitwa could only commence proceedings against him ‘if he was man enough’,” read the statement of claim.
He lamented that as a result, he had been severely injured in his profession, law practice and social standing, character, credibility and reputation and had suffered considerable distress and embarrassment, inconvenience and contempt from the general public and from members of LAZ.
Mwitwa is now claiming damages for slander and libel, among other claims.