LUSAKA Chief Resident Magistrate Lameck Mwale has dismissed an application by NDC leader Chishimba Kambwili to have the matter where he is charged with defamation of the President referred to the High Court for constitutional reference.
Magistrate Mwale dismissed the application on grounds that it lacked merit.
In this matter, 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, whenever it is called, it goes. Can you leave the price of mealie meal they fight K150 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.”
Kambwili, through his lawyer Keith Mweemba, had applied that the matter be referred to the High Court for determination on seven constitutional questions.
Kambwili wanted, among the seven questions, for the Court to determine whether or not the action taken by the State through the police to arrest and prosecute the accused person on unclear charges, infringes the right to the protection of freedom of expression in line with Article 20 of the Constitution.
He also wanted a determination on whether or not his arrest and prosecution on the said charge is in violation of the principle of quality of arms and the right to a fair trial.
Kambwili further wanted a determination on whether or not the offense of defamation of the President in the manner it has been done under the authority of Section 69 of the penal code contravenes or infringes his rights to a fair trial.
But ruling on the application, Wednesday, Magistrate Mwale dismissed the application on grounds that it lacked merit.
He ordered that the case proceeds to trial.
“The Court is of the view that the application by the defence lacks merit and the case shall proceed into trial,” ruled Magistrate Mwale.
However, after the ruling was passed, State prosecutor Charity Bauleni said the State was not ready as the witness on the stand was not available.
Kambwili’s lawyers were equally not present on grounds that they were not aware of yesterday’s date.
The matter comes up today for setting of dates.