THE State has closed its case in a matter where Chishimba Kambwili is accused of defaming President Edgar Lungu, after calling various witnesses to testify in the matter.
And Chief Resident Magistrate Lameck Mwale has set April 6, this year, as a date for ruling on whether Kambwili has a case or no case to answer.
Kambwili is in this matter charged with defamation of the President.
It is alleged that between August 26 and 27, 2019 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.
He is alleged to have said: “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 (not these people who are like dogs who used to stay in Chawama when it saw ste decides to move all over the world, when ever it is called, it goes. Can you leave the price of mealie meal with people fighting at 150 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).”
Previously, the arresting officer in the matter testified that the alleged defamatory words uttered by Kambwili against President Lungu were not fit to be used on a human being.
Stephen Nkowani, a police officer at Lusaka division headquarters, testified that on August 27, 2019, he was on duty when he took over a docket of defamation of the President.
He said the complainant in the matter was Daniel Nyati of Lusaka who complained against Kambwili over the utterances he made against the President which went viral on social media.
Nkowani said in the video, Kambwili was seen in a motor vehicle dressed in a red, blue and white stripped t-shirt.
He added that Kambwili was also wearing a wristwatch and a ring on one of his fingers.
Nkowani said the words Kambwili allegedly used were insulting, demeaning and should not be used against a human being, especially a President.
He added that he received another complaint from another person by the name of Allan Mkandawire who lodged a similar complaint after seeing a story in the Daily Nation Newspaper.
In cross examination by defence lawyers Keith Mweemba and Gilbert Phiri, Nkowani admitted that Jack Compound was in Kabwata constituency and not Chawama.
He further admitted that President Lungu had never stayed in Chawama.
And when the matter came up for continued cross examination, Tuesday, Nkowani said he doesn’t know who captured the said video where Kambwili has uttering the alleged defamatory words.
He added that he also didn’t know the gadget which was used to record the video.
Asked whether President Lungu was mentioned in the said statement, the witness responded in the negative.
Mweemba further asked Nkowani whether it was not true that the price of mealie meal at the time the alleged offence took place was K150, the arresting officer said: “it was not at K150 by then. I can’t state what the price was at that time as it was being sold at different prices.”
Asked whether talking about the price of mealie meal amounted to defaming a person, Nkowani responded in the affirmative.
This prompted Mweemba to ask the witness what was defamatory about a person questioning the price of mealie meal.
In response, the arresting officer said “it is defamatory if it’s not the correct position.”
After the conclusion of cross examination, the prosecution informed the court that it was closing its case and that they wished to file written submissions.
The defence informed the court that they would file their submissions within two weeks from now, while the State said they would submit theirs on or before April 1, this year, after the defence file theirs.
Magistrate Mwale then adjourned the matter to April 6, this year, for a ruling on case or no case to answer.