The Ndola magistrate Court has sentenced a retired army officer commando to three years imprisonment, for calling President Edgar Lungu and an idiot and a dog’.
This is in a matter where Steven Mwepu, 56 of house number 7209 Kabushi in Ndola is charged with defamation of the President, contrary to section 69 of the Penal Code Chapter 87 of the laws of Zambia.
Particulars allege that Mwape on September 6, 2018 in Ndola with intent to bring the name of the President into hatred, ridicule or contempt did utter defamatory words that “President Edgar Lungu is an idiot and a dog.”
Mwepu had denied the charge and was on police bond.
This was after PF Copperbelt chairlady Rose Mukupo, who is Mwepu’s neighbour, allegedly heard him insulting the President each time he returned home from his drinking spree.
She said after observing the repeated conduct of Mwepu, Mukapo instructed her son to place a phone recorder near the retired commando’s house and recorded his outbursts against the President.
Mukupo said Mwepu called President Lungu an idiot and a dog.
And in his testimony, Mukupo’s son Yasini Mupeta said he placed a phone recorder in the big crack which separates Mwepu’s house from his parent’s house.
He said the insults were “too much”, prompting his decision to record Mwepu.
And assistant superintendent peter Bwalya said he charged Mwepu after listening to a recording which was presented to police by the complainant.
In his defence, Mwepu opted to remain silent, but called his wife as witness.
In her testimony, Editunda Mwepu said she was surprised that her husband was arrested as she did not hear him insult the President.
In delivering judgement, Ndola resident magistrate Chinga Chitabo found Mwepu guilty and convicted him accordingly.
In his mitigation, Mwepu asked for leniency.
But magistrate Chitabo said the evidence adduced attained a degree of cogency which permitted an inference of guilt that it was Mwepu who committed the offence.
“I find that the state has proved the case and I find that the State has proved the case of defamation of the president,” he said.
He sentenced Mwepu to three years imprisonment, but suspended for two years, meaning he will only serve a year.