LUSAKA High Court Judge Wilfred Muma has vacated an ex-parte order of interim injunction that was granted to former City Market manager Mwenya Matafwali restraining suspended Lusaka Mayor Miles Sampa and Zambia Daily Mail newspaper from further publishing words allegedly defamatory to him.
Justice Muma discharged the exparte injunction after noting that Matafwali was claiming damages for libel and in the same vein, had made a claim for an injunction to restrain Sampa and the Zambia Daily Mail from further publishing defamatory words against him.
“The case of Kekelwa Samuel Kongwa VS David Nkhata, Appeal, is very instructive. The Supreme Court herein held; (i)That pleading for damages as a relief in the Originating process is acknowledgement that damages would serve as adequate compensation and that there is in such event no irreparable injury to be suffered without injunction and; (ii) That where there is such a plea, the burden is on the applicant for an injunction to prove that the respondent has no financial capacity to pay damages,” he said in his ruling dated July 20, 2020.
“In casu, I note from the endorsement that the plaintiff (Matafwali) claims for damages for libel and in the same vein the plaintiff had made a claim for an injunction to restrain the defendants and each of them by themselves, their agents or servants or otherwise from further publishing the said or similar libels. The endorsements invariably flies in the teeth of the holding of the Supreme Court in Kekelwa Case as cited herein. It is on the aforegoing that I now vacate the order of Interim Injunction granted on April 30, 2020.”
In this matter, Matafwali has sued Sampa and the Zambia Daily Mail newspaper in the Lusaka High Court for defamation of character for alleging that he had stolen K12 million which was meant to be deposited in the Lusaka City Council account.
However, Sampa has also countersued Matafwali for defamation of character, alleging that Matafwali defamed him when he accused him of asking for K20,000 from the City Market money for his personal use.
Sampa also asked the court to discharge the ex-parte order of injunction that was granted to Matafwali restraining him and the Zambia Daily Mail newspaper from further publishing words allegedly defaming him.
He contended that the situation did not reveal or justify an urgent basis upon which the injunction was granted.
Sampa in his submission in opposition to the injunction granted, argued that the law relating to the grant of injunction had been extensively adjudicated upon by the court and the rules that apply to the grant of an interim or interlocutory Injunctions were trite.
“The plaintiff (Matafwali) seeks to create favourable conditions only to himself. It is the first defendant’s prayer that the court should discharge the ex-parte order of injunction with costs,” he stated.
Matafwali in his defence to Sampa’s counter-claim, insisted that Sampa had on several occasions asked him to give him ‘offerings’ for personal use and that he (Matafwali) had told him to request for those ‘offerings’ officially which he has never done to date.
He also denied that the money had been mismanaged as claimed by Sampa.
“The plaintiff will aver at trial that he has not failed to account for the monies collected at the Lusaka City Market for the financial year December 31, 2019. The plaintiff will aver that he has not put the name of the mayor of Lusaka into disrepute or public scandal but that Sampa is the one who put the name of the plaintiff into disrepute,” he stated.
Matafwali had stated in his statement of claim that by letter dated April 2, 2020, Sampa wrote to the Lusaka City council town clerk and stated in part that City market generated a total revenue of K13, 626, 242.12 but only a total of K60, 000.00 was remitted to the Lusaka City council main accounts at Civic Centre.
He added that the Daily Mail published on its Page of April 4, this year, a story under the heading “12 million vanishes from the Lusaka City Market account”.
Matafwali submitted that the actual words stated that, “K12,000,000. 00 was not deposited into the Lusaka City council account and that Sampa learnt of this disappointment.”
He lamented that the said words uttered by Sampa and the Zambia Daily Mail meant and were understood to mean by an ordinary member of society that he stole K12 million.