POLITICAL analyst Dr Sishuwa Sishuwa has sued Zambia’s Ambassador to Ethiopia Emmanuel Mwamba in the Lusaka High Court, seeking damages for defamation and malicious falsehood.
Dr Sishuwa further wants an injunction directing Ambassador Mwamba to withdraw the defamatory article against him from circulating, and to further restrain the diplomat from publishing any other defamatory statements against him in his public debates, statements, opinions or otherwise.
According to the statement of claim, Dr Sishuwa stated that the article published by Amb Mwamba on his Facebook page on March 29, portrayed him as being unprofessional, unethical and using his expertise and professional standing to mislead the masses and bring the country into disrepute for personal gain.
“Its okay for one to provide a critical opinion about his own country, but it’s totally unacceptable for one to scandalise it, sow a false narrative and deliberately cause unjustified international alarm and cause untold reputation damage to it. This is what Dr Sishuwa Sishuwa has done in a written and paid for Op-Ed published in the Mail and Guardian newspaper (22 March 2021) of South Africa…if this is the state, then what’s driving Sishuwa’s paid for opinion? After serving for four years as High Commissioner to South Africa, I can even guess who paid for that Op-Ed article in the Mail and Guardian…,” Mwamba’s post read in part.
“My appeal is that despite ones disdain for the PF, or deep contempt for its government and its leader, we should never be given to desperate levels deliberately designed to injure the reputation and good standing of our country. Why burn Zambia because one is facing a possible and inevitable electoral loss of his party or one that he or she sympathises with? Mulefwaya uku filila munsenga?”
But Dr Sishuwa stated that Amb Mwamba’s post was filled with falsity and malice and that he was ready to prove to the court that the defendant knew that the allegations were false.
“The defamatory words were published on a Facebook page with a large following knowing so well that they were going to be viewed and shared widely; the defendant (Mwamba) knew that the allegations were untrue; on 29th March 2021, the plaintiff wrote to the defendant demanding a retraction of the defamatory article but the defendant refused and or neglected to do so despite acknowledging receipt of the demand notice; and the defamatory article is still in circulation,” he stated.
“The plaintiff (Sishuwa) was not paid by anyone to author the article; the Mail and Guardian newspaper was not paid by anyone to publish the article; the plaintiff did not attempt to nor did he actually scandalise Zambia by publishing any false narratives; the plaintiff is an independent professional who does not belong to any political party nor does he have any intentions to cause any damage to Zambia; The words were published by the defendant with the full knowledge that they were false and without any regard to their effect on the plaintiffs individual and professional reputation; the defendant’s article was written in a sensitive manner.”
Dr Sishuwa added that Amb Mwamba’s article was written in a sensational manner and that by reason of his defamatory words, he (Sishuwa) has been seriously injured in his reputation both individually and professionally.
He further told the court that unless Amb Mwamba is restrained by the court, he was likely to continue publishing defamatory statements against him.
Dr Sishuwa further prayed the Court to grant him, among others, compensatory damages for defamation, exemplary damages for defamation, damages for malicious falsehood and interest at the current commercial bank lending rate on the sums to be found due.