PF cadre Chishimba Kambwili has apologised to the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court for failing to appear in the last two sittings in a matter he is charged with defamation of the President in relation to his “imbwa sha bantu yaleikala fye ku Chawama” remarks.

In this matter, he is alleged to have between August 26 and 27, 2019 in Lusaka, with intent to bring the President’s name into hatred, ridicule or contempt, published an insulting matter by word of mouth.

He pleaded not guilty and various witnesses testified against him in the matter.

He was however found with a case to answer and put on his defence.

When the matter came up for defence before Lusaka High Court Lameck Mwale, sitting as chief resident magistrate, defence lawyer Keith Mweemba told the court that they were not ready to proceed as they did not receive instructions from their client and had no time to conduct a pre-trial.

“May it please this court that the defendant is not ready to proceed as we had no time to conduct a pre-trial with the client and there was communication break down and wish to apologise for being absent at the last sitting as we were not aware of the date. Equally, we still have no instructions on how to proceed on this matter,” said Mweemba.

Kambwili then apologised to the court for not being present as was not aware of the date and had COVID-19 at the time and asked for two weeks in which to resolve issues with his lawyers.

“Let me apologise to the court for not being present at the last sitting. I just read from the press that the matter had come up the previous day and I had COVID-19. I will need about two weeks to resolve issues with the lawyers before we can proceed,” said Kambwili.

The state then objected saying the surety at the last sittig told the court that Kambwili had malaria and not COVID-19.

The state further noted that Kambwili was found with a case to answer in April this year which gave defence counsel enough time in which to get instructions from their client.

And in ruling, Magistrate Mwale gave Kambwili a benefit of doubt and allowed him time to give instructions to his lawyers.

“In the interest of justice and considering the issue of insufficient instructions has been brought up now, I will give the accused a benefit of doubt had an opportunity for the accused of give instructions to his lawyers,” said magistrate Mwale.

The matter has since been adjourned to September 15, 2021 for opening of defence.

In this matter, Kambwili 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 they fight 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).”