FORMER Vice-President Guy Scott and ex-minister of Justice Wynter Kabimba have denied defaming nine former members of the technical committee which drafted the new Constitution.
The duo have stated that they never intended, and in fact did not bring the plaintiffs into ridicule, contempt and shame in the eyes of ordinary members of the public.
Nine former technical committee members who drafted the new Constitution have sued Dr Scott and Mr Kabimba and are seeking exemplary and aggravated damages for defamation of character, libel and slander.
These are former technical committee spokesperson Ernest Mwansa, Professor Patrick Mvunga, Dr Rodger Chongwe, Mwangala Zaloumis, Reuben Lifuka, Chief Luchembe, Father Ives Bantungwa and Reverend Susanne Matale.
Dr Scott is alleged to have said that the former members of the committee leaked the draft Constitution to the media and that investigations had been instituted against them.
On the other hand, Mr Kabimba is alleged to have said that if the committee members were allowed to buy the motor vehicles they were using, it would have set a bad precedent and that Government had a duty to the people and that public offices should not be looked at as “automated teller machines (ATMs)”.
But in denying the allegations the duo state:“The defendants will further aver that it is untrue that any defamatory statements have continued to be made by the defendant through its agents that otherwise negatively affect the dignity and social standing of the plaintiffs.
“The defendants will further aver at trial that any statements made by either the Vice-President or the minister of Justice at the time, were intended, and in fact did not bring the plaintiff into ridicule, contempt and shame in the eyes of ordinary members of the public and the plaintiff will be put to strict proof thereof,” the Attorney general’s chambers said.
The Attorney General’s Chambers said the statements allegedly attributed to Dr Scott and Mr Kabimba were not willful and misleading.
“As regards the contents of paragraphs 11-16 of the plaintiff’s statement of claim, the same are denied in so far as it is alleged that the alleged statement attributed to Dr Guy Scott speaking as Vice-President of the Republic of Zambia and Mr Wynter Kabimba speaking as Minister of Justice did not cumulate to willful, malicious, defamatory, untrue and misleading statements,” the State said.
The State said the plaintiffs’ statement of claim was within their peculiar knowledge and Dr Scott and Mr Kabimba would not make comment on that. In the writ of summons the nine said Dr Scott in his address over the constitution-making process alleged that member of the technical committee drafting the Constitution were trying to have the ownership of Government vehicles changed into their names. They also wanted the court to grant them an injunction restraining Dr Scott and Mr Kabimba or their agents from continuing to issue defamatory statements against them and also asking the court to order Dr Scott and Mr Kabimba to render written apologies to them over the allegations. wThe former members said comments were made to various sectors of the public and published in the media including the Post Newspapers.
They said Dr Scott, by maliciously and falsely alleging that they were trying to have Government vehicles changed into their names and that they leaked the draft Constitution to the media and that investigations had started, he implied that they were dishonest and fraudulent in their activities and functions. The former members said that by Dr Scott comparing them to angels and Hindu gods, he implied that the technical committee members had ungodly characteristics, were dishonest and untrustworthy.