Masaiti PF member of parliament Micheal Katambo has dragged his area councilor, Delight Mutale, to the Lusaka High Court, seeking damages for defamation of character for allegedly accusing him of stealing tax payers’ money and abandoning his family.
Katambo, who is also Agriculture Minister, is further seeking damages on account of Mutale’s actions and damages for mental distress and anguish.
He also wants an apology from Mutale to be circulated to the recipient of the defamatory statements and conversely a public apology in a daily newspaper having a wide circulation in Zambia, interest on any amount found to be due to him, costs and any other relief that the court may deem fit.
In a statement of claim filed in the Lusaka High Court principal registry, Tuesday, Katambo stated that Mutale was an area councilor of Masaiti.
He claimed that between September 2019, and January this year, Mutale caused to be issued slanderous statements against him to various persons where he (Katambo) was not a member to defend himself or have an opportunity to respond to the allegations made against him by the said Mutale.
Katambo stated that the statements made against him were that he was the richest cabinet minister who had amassed wealth using privileged position, among other allegations.
“The Plaintiff (Katambo) will further aver that the statements were made to the effect that: The plaintiff is a thief who has been stealing tax payers’ money; Is a cruel and inhuman person who has abandoned his family; He has no regard or respect for the elected councilors in his constituency and as such he is unpopular; He has no respect for the Lamba Royal Establishment and the chiefs thereunder,” read the statement of claim.
Katambo stated that the words complained of in their ordinary and natural meaning were meant to mean or suggest that he was a dishonest and corrupt man who was motivated by money and that he was a deceitful person who lacked integrity to hold the office or position that he holds.
He added that the words were also meant to suggest that he was an insensitive and inhuman cruel person who had failed to take care of his family and had also failed to run the affairs of his constituency and was therefore unfit to hold the office of member of parliament.
Katambo stated that the said statements contained serious, untrue and highly defamatory comments towards him, some of which contained malicious falsehood.
He further stated that the said defamatory comments were maliciously made by Mutale to embarrass him without verifying the truthfulness of the allegations.
“The plaintiff will aver that the defendant in doing so, the defamatory comments were being communicated to the plaintiff’s close associates in the constituency of Masaiti in the Motor sports world throughout the country thereby posing a serious threat to the plaintiff’s reputation and various individuals who work with the plaintiff in connection in the political arena,” read the statement of claim further.
Katambo lamented that the defamatory comments had caused him to be ridiculed and scorned.
He added that the words had also diminished the esteem, respect, goodwill or confidence which he held.
Katambo stated that he had written to Mutale through his Advocates Messrs BCM Legal Practitioners, requesting him to retract his postings and tender an apology but he had declined to do so.
He stated that as a result of Mutale’s actions, he had been injured in his reputation and character and had suffered loss, humiliation, ridicule and damage.