MASAITI PF member of parliament Michael Katambo has asked the Lusaka High Court to enter judgement on admission against his area councillor, Delight Mutale, whom he has sued for defamation of character.
Katambo, who is also Agriculture Minister, stated that Mutale admitted to defaming him as he caused to be published, an apology in the newspaper for alleging, among others things, that he (Katambo) was the worst corrupt minister in President Edgar Lungu’s Cabinet.
This is a matter where Katambo had sued Mutale in the Lusaka High Court seeking damages for defamation of character for accusing him of stealing tax payers’ money and abandoning his family.
He also wants, among others, 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.
Katambo stated in his statement of claim 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.
Katambo stated that the statements made against him were that he was the richest Cabinet Minister, who had amassed wealth using a 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 councillors 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 lacks integrity to hold the office or position that he holds.
He stated that the said defamatory comments were maliciously done by Mutale to embarrass him without verifying the truthfulness of the allegations.
Katambo lamented that the defamatory words had also diminished the esteem, respect, goodwill or confidence, which he holds.
But in his defence, Mutale denied issuing slanderous statements against Katambo.
He denied uttering statements that Katambo had amassed wealth by stealing tax payers’ money and that the latter was cruel, inhuman and had abandoned his family.
Mutale stated that he would put Katambo to strict proof that the words complained of in their ordinary and natural meaning were meant to mean or suggested that the Minister was dishonest and a corrupt man, who was motivated by money.
He further denied that the words complained of by Katambo meant to mean that he was an insensitive, inhuman and cruel person, who had failed to take care of his family and had failed to run the affairs of his constituency.
Mutale also disputed that the said defamatory comments were maliciously made by him to embarrass Katambo without truthfulness of the allegations.
“In the circumstances, the plaintiff is not entitled to any reliefs claimed as against the defendant. Save as herein before specifically admitted or not admitted, the defendant denies each and every allegation contained in the statement of claim as though the same were, herein, set forth and traversed seriatim,” Mutale stated.
However, Katambo has now asked the Court to grant him an order for Judgement on Admission against Mutale, saying the latter had admitted to defaming him.
“That the defendant (Mutale) caused to be published an apology to me in the newspaper for alleging, among other things, that I am the worst corrupt Minister in President Edgar Lungu’s Cabinet. The defendant has admitted to defaming me by the scandalous words he uttered. I have been advised by my Advocates Messrs. BCM Legal Practitioners and I verily believe the same to be true that this is a proper cause for this Honourable Court to enter Judgement on Admission as the defendant unequivocally admitted to defaming the plaintiff,” stated Katambo.