BUSINESSWOMAN and politician Faith Mushongo has dragged a Choppies Zambia Limited store manager to the Lusaka High Court for accusing her of stealing goods from the shop concealed in her bag.
She laments that she was subjected to a feeling of shame, low esteem, as she was unjustly accused of being a thief to the extent of the said store manager invading her privacy by conducting a search on her.
Mushongo has sued Choppies Zambia Limited and Martin Mwape, a store manager for the Matero outlet, seeking damages for defamation of character, damages for mental anguish and stress as well as damages for assault.
She stated in her statement of claim filed in the Lusaka High Court that she was a businesswoman running a gemstone mine as well as a senior politician residing in Lusaka.
Mushongo stated that Choppies Zambia was a Limited company, which runs a number of outlets of supermarkets, including one in Matero township of Lusaka.
She explained that on July 8, 2020, she went to a Choppies’ outlet in Matero to buy groceries and other requisites.
Mushongo stated that while in the said outlet, her phone, which was in her handbag rang and she attended to it.
She stated that upon finishing to attend to her phone, she put it back in her handbag and proceeded to do her shopping.
Mushongo, however, stated that before she could move, a certain man who she later came to learn as a shop manager by the name of Martin Mwape, uncourteously approached her in an accusing manner, causing apprehension and embarrassment on her as it happened in full view of other shoppers.
She stated that Mwape accused her of hiding something in her bag stolen from the shop.
“He uttered the following words: ‘What are you hiding in your bag!? Let me see what you are hiding in your bag, let me see what you are putting in your bag…what is that you are putting in your handbag?’,” read the claim.
Mushongo stated that when she asked Mwape who he was, he refused to respond, but insisted on searching her, alleging that she had stolen something from the shop.
She stated that Mwape ordered that her bag be searched, adding that after he searched, he found nothing in the bag.
“Upon finding nothing in the bag and on her person, the said Mr Mwape then left the scene and hid himself, while the rest of the shoppers were looking at Mushongo, who was left helplessly to the embarrassment, stress and torment suffered at the actions of Mwape. Mushongo enquired of Mwape and a Mr Rajeev W, the Receiving Manager, phoned Mwape, who obliged and came but refused to apologise and advised Mushongo to go anywhere if she wished,” read the claim further.
Mushongo stated that Mwape’s approach instilled fear and apprehension.
She added that she was subjected to a feeling of shame, low esteem, as she was unjustly accused of being a thief to the extent of the said store manager invading her privacy by conducting a search on her.
Mushongo stated that as a result of Mwape’s conduct, she was also gripped with fear and insecurity as she had a bunch of cash in her bag, which then had been exposed to a stranger.
She stated that there were cameras in the store with someone watching the entire shop, adding that a thief could have been seen from there.
Mushongo lamented that as a female politician and a mother with children, she was a community worker and a role model to many young women through her media work, adding that she agonised as to how these would think about her.
She stated that as a result, she had suffered damage and loss.