UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema has demanded an apology from Forum for Democracy and Development president Edith Nawakwi for calling him a criminal who benefitted from the privatization process of some state owned companies.

Hichilema has further demanded US$3 million from Nawakwi for the loss he has incurred both locally and internationally due to her defamatory statement against him.

The opposition leader says Nawakwi should meet his demands with 24 hours ending today (Tuesday), as failure to do so would attract court proceedings.

In a statement issued by his lawyer Mulambo Haimbe of Malambo and Company, Hichilema stated that Nawakwi should make a detailed and unreserved retraction and apology to him and publish it in the same manner and with equal prominence to the defamatory statements she made against him.

“Our instructions are that during the programme (Hot FM), and subsequent thereafter on other forms of media, including the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation Television, you made false, malicious and defamatory statements against our client whose aim, purpose and effect was, inter alia, to expose our client to hatred, contempt and ridicule; to embarrass him in the eyes of the general public; to lower our client’s reputation in the estimation of right thinking members of society; to cause him to be shunned and avoided; and generally to create an impression in the minds of the global community, given our client’s international repute as a businessman and politician, that our client is a thief and/or a person of miscreant behavior who does not respect the rule of law or deserve to hold public office as President of the Republic of Zambia, for which our client aspires. Consequently, our client has suffered irreparable damage to his reputation, severe embarrassment, harassment, hatred and ridicule in respect of which our client has instructed us to seek reparation from you as we do here,” Haimbe stated.

He stated that Hichilema had suffered severe damages both locally and internationally due to Nawakwi’s statements against him.

“Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, and whilst our client’s right to make any or any further claim against you, in relation to your recent conduct towards him remains fully reserved, our client’s instructions are that the defamatory statements were to the effect that: (a) our client is or was at the material time a criminal; (b) our client involved himself in theft and corruption by alienating a house located on Serval Road in Kabulonga, Lusaka (which you purport belonged to Lima Bank) to himself as liquidator of that institution; (c) our client involved himself in undisclosed illegality regarding the receivership of RAMCOZ; and (d) our client abused the privatization process in general and in particular with regard to the transaction for the sale of the assets of Mosi O Tunya Intercontinental Hotel in Livingstone and related assets which you allege that our client ‘sold to himself’,” Haimbe stated.

“As alluded to above, the allegations contained in the defamatory statement are devoid of any truth. They are malicious and aimed at damaging our client’s hard earned reputation as an astute businessman, as a person worthy of holding office as President of the Republic of Zambia and as a law abiding and God fearing citizen of Zambia, and the world at large, quite aside from being a clear violation of his guaranteed human rights. The defamatory statements were made without due regard for the true factual position regarding the subject matter thereof and in contumelious disregard for the law.”

As compensation for the loss incurred, Haimbe demanded that Nawakwi pays his client a sum of US $3 million in addition to a retraction of her statement and a public apology.

“Our instructions are therefore to demand the following: (a) a detailed and unreserved retraction and apology from you to be published in like manner and with equal prominence to the defamatory statements, the text of such retraction and apology to be approved by us; (b) that you undertake in writing to desist from making the defamatory statements or any similar statements going forward; (c) while our client recognizes that your actions have caused irreparable harm that cannot be atoned for in monetary terms, you will note that he has been put to great expense and inconvenience on account of your conduct; (d) this entails that our client has incurred and continues to incur great expense both locally and internationally in order to mitigate the harm that you have caused to him. Our client places the cost of the foregoing, which includes legal costs incurred thus far, at the conservative sum of US$3, 000,000 which our client hereby demands from you. Our client is amenable to receiving reasonable proposals as to how you intend to settle the said sum. Our client’s rights however remained reserved,” he stated.

Haimbe demanded that the claims be met within 24 hours, ending today or court proceedings would commence against Nawakwi.

“Our client further demands, in view of the pressing nature of this matter that address his demands within 24 hours hereof, that is to say no later than Thursday, 3rd September 2020, failing which our client will be constrained to take out proceedings before an appropriate forum so as to protect his interests. Should our client be forced to do this, it will be without further recourse to you and at your cost. Kindly note that owing to the public nature of your actions towards our client, we have been instructed to, and do hereby, avail a copy of this letter to the media for their information by way of a press statement,” demanded Haimbe.