UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema has entered into a consent judgement with Chilufya Tayali in a matter in which he sued the latter for defamation and was demanding K100 million as compensation.
According to a consent judgement filed in the Lusaka High Court, Wednesday, but yet to be endorsed by a judge, the parties agreed that the judgement would be enforced in favour of Hichilema, who is the plaintiff in the matter.
It was further stated that Tayali, the defendant in the matter, retracts and unreservedly apologises for the defamatory remarks he made and added that he would render a written apology within 48 hours of the execution of the judgement.
“By Consent judgement of the parties, the plaintiff through his advocates and the defendant who is in person, it is hereby agreed as follows: That the judgement is enforced in favour of the plaintiff; That the defendant herein retracts and unreservedly apologies for the defamatory remarks made against the plaintiff on 15th November 2020, as complained by the plaintiff herein. Further, the defendant shall render a written apology on his Facebook page within 48 hours after execution of the consent; The parties undertake to engage each other mutually as they exercise their freedom of expression; and that each party shall bear its own costs,” read the consent judgement.
In this matter, Hichilema sued Tayali over remarks that he should be in jail instead of aspiring for presidency, among others.
Hichilema had stated that he was a highly popular presidential candidate and that Tayali was a struggling leader of an insignificant political party that attempts to gain its popularity by vilifying him.
The UPND leader added that he had never been convicted of any criminal offence to warrant being in Jail or to be barred from vying for Public Office as President of Zambia and was seeking damages for libel against Tayali, aggravated and exemplary damages and an order directing Tayali to retract the defamatory words.
Hichilema also wanted an interim and permanent injunction restraining Tayali whether by himself, his servants, agents or otherwise from further publishing or causing to be published or broadcast the defamatory words or any words similarly defamatory to him.
He argued that as a consequence of Tayali’s actions, he has been compelled to engage the services of legal consultants comprising a team of lawyers and their firms, and other consultants and the consequent pecuniary damage, costs and expenses which were projected to accumulate to about K100,000,000 as the process of litigation and damage control continues in the period leading up to the Presidential elections scheduled for August 12, 2021.
In the statement of claim filed into court, Hichilema explained that on November 15, 2020 around 10:00 hours, Tayali hosted a well attended Press Briefing at his offices at Villa Office Complex, where he uttered and caused to be broadcast defamatory words against him.
He stated that Tayali at the said briefing said he had evidence pointing to the fact that he (Hichilema) should be in jail.
“The defendant (Tayali) uttered the following defamatory words about the plaintiff (Hichilema);…’I am here to give you what I strongly believe is evidence pointing to the fact that Mr Hakainde Hichilema should actually not be in politics, he should not be aspiring for presidency, rather he should be in jail. My issue is that people who have got questionable characters, with backgrounds which is dented should not be in politics. I am going to contest in 2021 and I want to make sure that those who will be competing, those who will be contesting, are not criminals. I don’t want to contest with criminals, I don’t want to contest with corrupt people, I don’t want!” read the claim.
“I have met people, I have spoken to people, alive, flesh and blood, not ghosts, they have come to complain, how Mr Hakainde Hichilema got them out of their houses, how Mr Hakainde Hichilema kicked them out their employments, how Mr Hakainde Hichilema has not paid them as people who used to work in some of the companies that were privatized… there is one House Plot No. 77/A/609, on Poplar Avenue in Chelstone…it was offered to Mr M Jere and he actually paid for it through SP Mulenga who were the lawyers. Now what happened thereafter, mysteriously that House was bought by Mr Hakainde Hichilema for K31,000…How did Mr Hakainde Hichilema buy this house…he never worked for ZIMCO… There is another property Farm No. 1924, which is in Kalomo in Southern Province…it belongs to the late Samson Siatembo. This property was mortgaged to Lima Bank, around 1989,…today as we speak this property is owned by Mr Hakainde Hichilema”
Hichilema stated that the said defamatory words meant or were calculated to mean that he was a criminal who deserves to be in jail, a corrupt person of questionable integrity and character, and that he was guilty of numerous offences relating to the affairs of ZIMCO and the liquidation of Lima Bank in the sale of its assets, when in fact not.