A State witness has insisted that President Edgar Lungu used to stay in Chawama before he became Head of State, but admits that he has never seen the said house in which he used to live.
This was despite the defence putting it to the witness that the President had never stayed in Chawama.
Evaristo Musonda, who adjudicates in a traditional court in Chief Chikwanda’s Chiefdom in Mpika District, was testifying in a matter where NDC leader Chishimba Kambwili is charged with defamation of the President.
It is alleged that between August 26 and 27 last year in Lusaka, Kambwili with intent to bring the name of the President into hatred, ridicule or contempt, published an insulting matter by word of mouth saying, “Noti ishi imbwa shabantu yaleikala fye Ku Chawama elo yamona ste ati ntandale icalo, eko baita fye kuya. Kuti washo umutengo wabunga balelwa 150 Waya? Kumona fye abantu abika kuti wabula Kampyongo, ati Minister of Home Affairs? Kuti Chaba Chalo ? Ba Kaizer Zulu. Okay bane” Meaning not these people who are like dogs who used to stay in Chawama when it saw ste decides to move all over the world, when ever it is called, it goes. Can you leave the price of mealie meal they fight 150 you go. You can even see the people he appoints. How do you appoint Kampyongo as Minister of Home Affairs? Can it be a country? Ba Kaiser Zulu. Okay guys.”
When the matter came up for continued trial before chief resident magistrate Lameck Mwale, Tuesday, Musonda testified that in August last year, a police officer went to Chief Chikwanda’s palace where he showed him a video on his phone.
He said in the video, he saw Kambwili talking to someone whose face was not shown.
Musonda said he heard Kamwbili saying “Not ishi imbwa shabantu, yaleikala ku Chawama elo yamona ste ….ati intandale icalo. Eko baitafye kuya. Kuti washa umutengo wabunga abantu balelwila K150, waya…”
He said after watching the video, the officer asked him what the words meant, and in response said, the words were insults on the leaders.
“There were many dogs who were mentioned, and among the dogs, he mentioned one dog which used to stay in Chawama and works with Kampyongo and Kaizer Zulu,” Musonda said.
Musonda said when the officer asked him which dog in particular was being referred to, his response was that Kambwili was referring to President Lungu because he knew that the Head of State used to live in Chawama before becoming President.
“And it was President Lungu who appointed Kampyongo and Zulu to work with him…In Bemba, if you tell your spouse that ‘uli mwana wa mbwa’ (a child of a dog), your spouse’s family will ensure that the marriage ends as you will be considered to lack respect,” the witness, who spoke in Bemba, said.
When cross examined by Kambwili’s lawyers Keith Mweemba and Gilbert Phiri, Musonda insisted that President Lungu used to stay in Chawama.
Asked to state the house number, Musonda said he didn’t know.
“I live in Mpika…What I know is that he was staying in Chawama but I don’t know the house number,” he said.
Asked if he had ever seen or visited the said house in Chawama where the President used to stay, the witness said no.
Further asked who told him that President Lungu used to stay in Chawama, Musonda said he just used to hear other people say President Lungu was from Chawama.
He said he would dispute if he was told that the Head of State was not from Chawama as the people who told him so, may be telling the truth.
Asked if he knew when the said video where Kambwili uttered the alleged defamatory words was taken, Musonda said no.
Further asked if figurative speech and idioms amounted to insulting language, Musonda replied in the negative, saying idioms and figurative speech did not amount to insulting language, depending on how they were used.