The Lusaka Magistrates’ Court has acquitted a 38-year-old Air Traffic Controller accused of defaming President Edgar Lungu by allegedly saying the Head of State should resign or he would die in two years’ time.
Trevor Mwila was in this matter charged with Defamation of the President.
It was alleged that on June 30, 2019 in Lusaka, Mwila with intent to bring the name of the President into hatred, contempt, ridicule and disrepute, published a defamatory statement by word of mouth to which he said, “tell your President Edgar Chagwa Lungu to resign or else he is dying in two years’ time because he is sick and as my child, I see him everyday.”
During trial, Irene Kapijimpanga, a State witness, testified that while at a bar, a Mr Banda, who she knew from way back, walked in and they exchanged pleasantries.
She said Banda inquired if she was the owner of the vehicle with a Patriotic Front chitenge on it and she said ‘yes’, stating that she was a supporter of President Edgar Chagwa Lungu.
Kapijimpanga said as they continued chatting, the accused, Mwila, went and sat next to her and said “I hear you support Lungu. I’m telling you to tell your President to resign. If you look at him, you don’t see that he is a very sick man? I see him dying in two years because he is my child, I see him everyday.”
She said everyone in that place became quiet as the accused was speaking on top of his voice, adding that she was offended by the words.
But in his defence, Mwila denied uttering the alleged defamatory words, saying he only told Kapijimpanga that things were hard in President Lungu’s time.
He told the Court that he said that as he gave K320 to a lady who demanded for the money after spending time with him.
Mwila said he only came to know that the lady in question was a sex worker after Kapijimpanga highlighted to him.
And when the matter came up for judgment, Monday, Principal Resident Magistrate Mwaka Mikalile acquitted Mwila after she established that the alleged defamatory words were not uttered by him.
Magistrate Mikalile said in her findings that the statement uttered by Mwila was that “ifintu muli ba Lungu nafi shupa, kuwayawaya fye”, meaning things in President Lungu’s time were hard.
She said the words did not amount to vulgar or insulting language.
Magistrate Mikalile further said the statement uttered by Mwila could not lead to disturbance of order.