AN arresting officer has told the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court that the alleged defamatory words uttered by NDC leader Chishimba Kambwili against President Edgar Lungu were not fit to be used on a human being.
And Kambwili’s defence lawyers Keith Mweemba and Gilbert Phiri have asked the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court to refer the defamation of the President case to the High Court for determination of some constitutional questions.
It is alleged in this matter 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, whenever 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 Kaizer Zulu. Okay, guys.”
When the matter came up for continued trial before Chief Resident Magistrate Lameck Mwale, Monday, Stephen Nkowani, a police officer at Lusaka division headquarters, testified that on August 27, last year, he was on duty when he took over a docket of defamation of the President.
He said the complainant in the matter was Daniel Nyati of Lusaka who complained against Kambwili over the utterances he made against the President, which went viral on social media.
Nkowani, the arresting officer, said in the video, Kambwili was seen in a motor vehicle dressed in a red, blue and white stripped T-shirt.
He added that Kambwili was also wearing a wrist watch and a ring on one of his fingers.
Nkowani said the words Kambwili allegedly used were insulting, demeaning and should not be used against a human being, especially a sitting Republican President.
He narrated that he received another complaint from another person by the name of Allan Mkandawire, who lodged a similar complaint after seeing a story in the Daily Nation newspaper.
Nkowani said since the complaint was already before him, he turned Mkandawire into a witness.
In cross-examination, Nkowani admitted that Jack Compound was in Kabwata constituency and not Chawama.
He further admitted that President Lungu had never stayed in Chawama.
And Mweemba asked the court to refer the matter to the High Court and in the alternative to the Constitutional Court for determination of seven questions.
Magistrate Mwale reserved ruling on the application for constitutional reference for June 17, this year.