A LUANSHYA man accused of insulting President Edgar Lungu during a phone-in programme on Millennium Radio has denied defaming the Head of State, saying he also felt hurt when he heard that someone had insulted Zambia’s leader.
This is a matter in which Fred Maanya is charged with defamation of the President.
Particulars of the offence allege that on March 28, 2019 in Lusaka, Maanya with intent to bring the name of the President into ridicule published insulting matter by word of mouth.
When the matter came up before Chief Resident Magistrate Lameck Mwale for a defence, Wednesday, Maanya’s lawyer Mulambo Haimbe, who was leading him in his defence, asked the accused to tell the Court what he knew regarding the allegations that he defamed the President on March 28, 2019.
Giving his side, Maanya denied insulting the President.
He told the Court that on the material day, he was asleep when his friend whom he used to stay with knocked off from work around 06:00 hours and asked if he could use his phone as he did not have airtime in his.
Maanya said when his friend, Aaron Zimba, got his phone, he walked out of the house to talk from outside.
“He said he wanted to talk to someone and he got my phone and walked out of the house. He spent about 30 minutes on phone. When he returned, he told me he overheard that someone had insulted the Head of State on radio,” he said.
Maanya further told the Court that his friend could not accompany him to court because he did not have transport money.
The accused denied ever calling Millennium Radio to insult the President, saying when he heard that someone had insulted the President, he got hurt.
“I have never made a call, your honour, to insult the President. When I heard that there is someone who defamed the President, I also felt hurt,” Maanya said.
In cross-examination by State Prosecutor Stuyvesant Malambo, Maanya admitted that he was a Luanshya resident and that he was at home on the material day.
He, however, told the Court that he doesn’t know whether his friend used his phone to call Millennium Radio because he walked out when he asked to use his phone.
Defence continues on March 24, this year.
Previously, Martin Akende, a station manager at Millennium Radio Station, testified that he was shocked and confused when a man who said he was from Kabwe, called the station during the ‘Meal Breakfast Show’ and insulted President Lungu.
He said the caller first started by commending the Head of State for opening Mulungushi Textiles in Central Province before insulting him.
Akende said that his boss Patricia Chibiliti reported the matter to ZICTA as the system he uses on-air did not show the numbers of the callers.
In cross-examination by defence lawyer Mulambo Haimbe, Akende said he could not identify the person, who made the call because he does not know him, but knows the voice, which called the radio station.