CHISHIMBA Kambwili has told the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court that he has never, will never and can never defame the President.
Kambwili has further told the court that as an opposition leader, one of his roles is to provide checks and balances to the government of the day and inform it about what the people of Zambia are complaining about those in governance.
Kambwili is in this matter accused of defaming President Edgar Lungu in relation to his statement where he questioned the Head of State’s association with businessman Harry Valden Findlay.
He was charged with defamation of the President following a complaint filed in the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court by the New Congress party leader president Peter Chanda.
It is alleged that between September 1 and 12, last year in Lusaka, Kambwili with intent to bring the name of the President into hatred, ridicule and contempt published defamatory matter affecting President Edgar Lungu by word of mouth to which he said; “What business do you do with Valden Findlay? Because we see, when you go abroad, when coming out of the plane, the next person to come out is Valden Findlay. Now, the allegations by the people of Zambia and world over are that may be the Presidential trips and the Presidential plane is now being used to courier drugs…”
The matter is being privately prosecuted.
On November 16, 2020, Lusaka Magistrate Felix Kaoma found Kambwili with a case to answer in the matter and placed him on his defence.
But opening his defence, Tuesday, Kambwili denied defaming President Lungu saying he can never and would never do that.
He said he was at the moment the NDC president and that one of his roles as an opposition leader was to provide checks and balances to the government of the day.
Kambwili added tha it was his duty to comment on issues affecting the nation.
He said as a tax payer, he had the right to question certain happenings in government as government was run using taxi payers’ money.
Kambwili further said as an opposition leader, he first did research by reading newspapers, listening to various radio stations as well as listening and watching news on television both local and international.
“And through that I do hear complaints of the Zambian people and I also receive correspondence letters written to me, asking me to speak on different issues affecting the country in order to respond to various issues,” he said.
Kambwili told the court that between August and December, 2019, he received various letters of complaints from people all over the country, adding that of particular attention was the issue of Valden Findlay relating to the issue of drug dealing before the American court in which Findlay was mentioned.
He said in the said letters, people were asking him to make a comment on the relationship between Findlay and the President.
However, Kambwili could not finish his defence as he was unwell.
The matter has been adjourned to April 16, 2021 for continued defence and five witnesses are expected to testify in his defence.
Earlier in the matter, Magistrate Kaoma declined Kambwili’s application to have the matter adjourned in order to enable him seek medical attention.
He agreed with one of the prosecutors that the court could not continue adjourning the case because there could be no progress in the matter.
Magistrate Kaoma said while sicknesses was evitable to human beings, history of the case poses the danger of not concluding the matter within expected time especially that the case was being privately prosecuted which was an expensive venture as every adjournment attracted costs.