A Chawama businessman has told the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court that he became very annoyed upon reading a story in the Daily Nation Newspaper quoting Chishimba Kambwili as having called the people of Chawama “dogs”.
The State witness, who admitted that he is a PF symphathiser, however admitted that the Republican President has never stayed in Chawama.
Meanwhile, the Secretary General for Peter Chanda’s New Congress Party, Daniel Nyati, also admitted that President Edgar Lungu’s name was never mentioned in the video that went viral where Kambwili was uttering the said defamatory words, adding that it’s only the Head of State who can tell how he felt about the statement.
This is in a matter, Kambwili, 50, is charged with defamation of the President.
When the matter came up for commencement of trial before chief resident magistrate Lameck Mwale, Monday, the State called its first witness Nyati, 37, a businessman of light industrial area in Lusaka.
He testified that on August 27, 2019, around 09:00 hours, he opened his Facebook account and came across a 45 seconds video clip in which Kambwili was talking to someone who was not in the said clip.
He testified that Kambwili said: “Noti inshi imbwa shabantu yaleikala fye ku Chawama elo yamona ste ati ntandale icalo eko baita fye Kuya. Kuti washa umutengo wabunga balelwa 150 waya…?”
Nyati translated the words as: “not these people who are like dogs who used to stay in Chawama. When it saw ste decides to move all over the world, whenever it is called it goes…”
He said upon viewing the clip, he felt offended as he found the expression to be ridiculous and insulting.
Nyati said thereafter, he asked himself as to who the dog was as there was no direct mention.
He said upon scrutinizing the video further, he discovered that the only person who appointed [Stephen] Kampyongo as minister was the Head of State and that he was also the one that appointed Kaizer Zulu as his political aide.
Nyati said he also saw that the Head of State actually came from Chawama as he was elected Chawama member of parliament in the 2011 general elections and thereafter, occupied State House.
He added that at the time the words were being uttered, President Lungu was out in Japan.
Nyati said thereafter, he consulted the Penal Code and in his view, concluded that the video bordered on defamation of the President as it was meant to bring the reputation of the President into ridicule.
He said he therefore decided to report the matter to Lusaka Central Police.
In cross examination by defence laywers Keith Mweemba and Christopher Mundia, the witness admitted that he did not know for a fact when Kambwili uttered the the alleged words, neither did he know the alleged interviewer in the said video.
He further admitted that he could not tell whether the 45 second clip was edited, neither could he tell the context of the discussion and how long it lasted.
Nyati also admitted that the ‘Imbwa shabantu’ in the charge sheet was plural.
But when the witness said he didn’t know whether President had ever stayed in Chawama, the defence put it to him that “you are the one putting the name of the President into disrepute by bringing frivolous complaints when the President himself has never complained. Defamation is a personal matter.”
Asked if the President was mentioned in the video by name, the witness said no.
Further in cross examination, Nyati told the court that he was the secretary general of the New Congress Party and that his president was Peter Chanda
But asked “your president (Chanda) is on public record as personally having reported Kambwili to the police, what would you say about that?”
Nyati said he wouldn’t know.
Meanwhile, Allan Mkandawire a businessman of Chawama Compound said he was annoyed after learning about Kambwili’s alleged defamatory words against President Lungu and reported the matter to the police.
“…When I read this your honour, I compared with a video which went viral on social media in which Mr Kambwili was speaking in bemba and I quote in parts ‘not ishi imbwa shabantu. Yaleikalafe ku Chawama…’ I became annoyed with Mr Kambwili’s words and decided to go at Lusaka Police station to give a statement,” he said.
Mkandawire said Kambwili was referring to the appointing authority who came from Chawama.
“The only person who has the mandate to appoint a minister is only the President of the Republic of Zambia. In this regard, Mr Kambwili referred to the appointing authority as a dog,” he said.
Asked in cross examination, if the President had ever stayed in Chawama, Mkandawire said no but said that the Head of State used to stay in Jack Compound.
Further asked which political party he sympathised with, the State witness first said he didn’t sympathise with any party but later on admitted that he was a PF sympathiser after the defence informed him that they had evidence to prove so.
Trial continues on November 22 and October 4.