PF information and publicity chairperson Raphael Nakacinda has pleaded not guilty to the charge of defamation of the President.

And Nakacinda says President Hichilema has turned himself into a tourist by travelling at every opportunity without due consideration to the costs.

In this matter, it is alleged that Nakacinda, on December 13, 2021 in Lusaka, with intent to bring the name of President Hakainde Hichilema into hatred, ridicule and contempt, caused to be published, defamatory matter by word of mouth, where he addressed people at the High Court of Zambia, which was also broadcasted by Muvi Television that “His Excellency President Hakainde Hichilema had summoned Judges at his private residence, intimidating and coercing them to frustrate PF legal battles”.

When Nakacinda appeared before Lusaka magistrate Jennifer Bwalya, the charge of defamation of the President was explained to him, after which he pleaded not guilty.

This was after magistrate Bwalya declined to stay the proceedings before her pending the determination of the Constitutional issues which Nakacinda raised which were referred to the Constitutional Court for determination.

Magistrate Bwalya declined to stay the proceedings before her, saying they would run side by side with the application referred to the Constitutional Court.

She said she would proceed with the trial in the magistrate court, while the Constitutional Court would also be hearing the application for constitutional issues referred before it.

Magistrate Bwalya said the outcome of the application before the Constitutional Court would guide on the way forward regarding the case before her.

She then adjourned the matter to April 1, 2022, for commencement of trial.

And speaking to journalists after appearing in court, Nakacinda said President Hichilema had become a tourist.

“I think for us we have a duty to the nation and to that effect, on Monday or Tuesday, we are going to have press briefing to address a number of pertinent issues especially that now the Republican President has turned himself into a tourist. Travelling at every opportunity without due consideration to the costs his travels are occasioning to the taxpayer. There are a number of issues that we need to raise for the benefit of the Zambian people,” Nakacinda said.