THE State has closed its case in a matter in which New Labour Party leader Fresher Siwale is charged with defamation of the President.
Principle resident magistrate Alice Walusiku has since set June 10, this year, for a ruling on whether Siwale has a case to answer.
In this matter, Siwale is alleged to have on April 22, 2018, with intent to bring the name of President Edgar Lungu into ridicule, published defamatory matter by word of mouth to which he said “the President of the Republic of Zambia is not the actual Edgar Chagwa Lungu but Jonathan Mutawale, he must be arrested for having three National Registration Cards, he is an identity thief”.
The State closed its case on Wednesday, after the last witness testified in the matter.
After the closure of the prosecution case, defence lawyers Keith Mweemba and Gilbert Phiri indicated to the court that the defence wanted to file written submissions and that a period of six weeks would be adequate for them to do so.
The State on the other hand requested for a week in which to file their reply after the defence filed theirs.
The defence will file their submissions by May 12, this year while the State will file theirs by May 19, 2021.
Magistrate Walusiku adjourned the matter to June 10, this year for a ruling on case or no case to answer.
Several witnesses testified in the matter, among them President Lungu’s former teacher Nelsen Dhliwayo, who is a 76-year-old retired teacher and small scale farmer.
The witness testified that President Lungu was one of his brightest pupils who used to get distinctions in the weekly tests.
Zambia Airforce Projects Limited director Colonel Edgar Lungu on the other hand testified that Siwale displayed his National Registration Card (NRC) on Muvi TV’s Assignment programme, alleging that it was for the Republican President.
Lungu, a ZAF officer based at Longacres told the court that the said Assignment programme displayed the NRC number which was exactly the one he possessed.
He told the court he was watching Muvi TV’s Assignment programme were his NRC number was displayed.
He said he watched the programme on April 22, 2018 and the discussant Siwale was discussing the identity of President Edgar Lungu.
Lungu said the program was going on well until he saw his NRC number displayed.
Meanwhile, Department of National Registration, Passport and Citizenship registrar Agness Musonda testified that ‘Edgar Chagwa Lungu’ was born in Ndola in 1956, adding that at the time he got his NRC in 1973, he was residing in Kitwe’s Chimwemwe area.
The State witness further testified that two NRCs bearing the names of ‘Edgar Chagwa Lungu’ and ‘Edgar Lungu’ belonged to two different people.
However, Musonda admitted that Zambians were free to discuss the identity and origin of their President but added that she had never heard of anyone having more than two NRC’s.