A Lusaka Apex University lecturer is counterclaiming damages for defamation of character in the Lusaka High from two female students who accused him of making sexual advances towards them.
Philistone Nyirenda has lamented that the allegations of sexual harassment have exposed him to ridicule, contempt and odium and have lowered his reputation in the estimation of right thinking members of the society.
In this matter, Sandra Mubanga and Carol Saili have sued Nyirenda for allegedly making various sexual advances towards them and promising to make them pass the examinations.
The two claimed that after refusing his sexual requests, Nyirenda, who they said is a lecturer and Head of Laboratory Department at the University, vowed to ensure that they failed the examinations, which actually came to pass.
Mubanga and Saili, both fourth year students in the faculty of Pharmacy at Lusaka Apex Medical University, also sued the institution, seeking a declaration that it had breached its contractual obligation to provide a conducive environment for learning.
But in his defence and counterclaim filed in the Lusaka High Court, November 27, Nyirenda is seeking damages for defamation of character arising from false accusations of sexual harassment and advances.
“The first defendant (Nyirenda) will in his counterclaim aver that the allegations of sexual harassment has exposed the first defendant to ridicule contempt and odium and has lowered the reputation of the first defendant in the estimation of right thinking members of the society,” he lamented.
He is further seeking damages for reputational injury arising from false allegations that he made sure the two students would fail the exams when he had no authority to mark exams and later on influence the outcome, which was a preserve of the Senate.
Nyirenda also wants aggravated damages for mental anguish, costs and any other relief the court may deem fit.
In its defence and counterclaim filed in court, recently, Lusaka Apex University stated that Nyirenda had never been employed by the University as a lecturer or as Head of Laboratory Department.
It also denied each and every allegation by the students and further counter sued the same students, demanding damages for loss of reputation, as well as, an apology and retraction of the false claims.
It lamented that the sexual harassment claims have caused its students and general public to loose confidence in the University and had brought its business into odium and contempt.
And in his defence filed earlier, Nyirenda denied that he was employed as a lecturer by the University.
He stated that he is a scientist who is in the faculty of Science and Head of Department responsible for Technical and Laboratory practicals.
Nyirenda also denied making sexual advances towards the two students, adding that Mubanga and Saili will be put to strict proof in respect of their baseless allegations.
He further stated that at no time did he threaten to fail Mubanga and Saili, arguing that he was not even responsible for marking any of the examination scripts.
Nyirenda stated that the two students failed the examinations because they were simply not ready and cannot blame him for their own lack of preparedness.
He added that they were therefore not entitled to any of the reliefs being sought by them.