LUSAKA lawyer Dickson Jere has, through a consent order entered with economist Noel Nkoma, discontinued a matter where he sued the latter for accusing him of being a liar and an attention seeker in a WhatsApp group.
According to a consent order to discontinue the matter consented by both Jere and Nkoma, the parties have agreed that Nkoma issues an apology and retraction of the defamatory words uttered by him against Jere, which Jere has accepted in extinction of all claims for malicious falsehood and defamation.
“By consent of the parties hereto, each through their respective advocates, it is hereby agreed and ordered that the defendant (Nkoma) shall simultaneously with the signing of this consent order issue and publish an apology and retraction of the defamatory words uttered by him against the plaintiff (Jere) and the plaintiff has accepted the said apology and retraction in extinction of all claims for malicious falsehood and defamation. That the plaintiff has in the consequence of the above agreed to discontinue this matter. That each party bears its own costs,” read the order signed by High Court judge in-charge Gertrude Chawatama.
In this matter, Jere dragged Nkoma to the Lusaka High Court for allegedly accusing him of being a liar and an attention seeker in one of the Whatsapp groups.
Jere, who was former President Rupiah Banda’s Special Assistant for Press and Public Relations, was seeking damages for malicious falsehood and libel as well as aggravated damages.
In his statement of claim, Jere had explained that on August 9, this year, he wrote an eulogy in honour of recently deceased Director-General of the Zambia Security and Intelligence Services Samuel Nkhoma titled “The spy who liked me”.
He stated that in the article, he recounted a few fond memories of his interactions with the deceased, adding that the said article was posted on his (Jere’s) facebook page on August 9, 2020.
Jere stated that without invitation or due cause, the defendant, Nkoma responded to his writing via a commentary in one of the Whatsapp Groups called ‘Dynamic Analysis’ which had in excess of 200 members, calling him an attention seeker.
“That… ‘baba Ponda , don’t believe everything that Dickson writes about as he is an attention seeker and I know that was not the DG we knew. He claims relevance when he was nowhere close to the man. So sad that he can write about DG like this. Shame on him. Zikomo’,” read the claim.
Jere stated that Nkoma’s words were as would be expected, reposted verbatim on various Whatsapp groups including one called “Business and Interaction,” which has a membership of over 200.
He added that the widely read online media publication ‘Zambian Watchdog’ also quoted Nkoma’s circulated comments which were captured in an article titled “Jere is lying, he didn’t know the DG, says Noel Nkoma…” published on August 9, 2020 that Nkoma had expressed shock at the eulogy published by him (Jere).
“In their natural and ordinary meaning, the defendant’s words meant and were understood to mean that the plaintiff is an untruthful person with tendacy to tell lies and is thus a lair and an untrustworthy person who is also an attention seeker claiming a relationship that he did not have for purpose of personal gratification,” read the claim further.
He stated that Nkoma wrote the words knowing fully well that they were false and with intent to injure his reputation and lower his standing in society.
Jere further stated that as a result he had been put to considerable loss of time and resources explaining to various persons the untruth of Nkoma’s words and the factual position relating to his relationship with the deceased.