Post editor in scuffle with journalist

FREELANCE journalist Chanda Chimba III almost lost his video camera yesterday after Post Newspaper owner Fred M’membe charged and tried to stop him from filming him as he emerged from the Lusaka Magistrates Court.

The incident happened as M’membe came out of a contempt of court hearing before magistrate Kenneth Mulife.

When Mr Chanda did not stop filming Mr M’membe, he whispered and instructed some suspected Rainbow Party cadres to  stop him filming.

But the veteran journalist stood his grounds and challenged them that he was within his rights to do what he was going.

The suspected Rainbow Party cadres then started hurling all sorts of insults on Chimba who just kept on filming, shrugging off the cadres as they tried to manhandle him.

Mr Chanda left the  main passage of the court and rushed forward so that he could capture M’membe as he was emerging form the court building but still, he met the full force of the cadres.

They accosted him and one of them said: “Iwe Chanda ule chita fya propaganda. Fya woyo efyo.”

Mr Kabimba did not seem to  be bothered being filmed by Mr Chimba in the court corridors.

After his ordeal, Mr Chanda said in an interview that Mr M’membe’s behaviour and conduct reminded him of his encounter with him (Mr M’membe) in 1996 at Police Force headquarters when he behaved the same way and wanted to break the ZNBC camera.

Meanwhile, Lusaka Magistrates Court has adjourned the matter in which Wynter Kabimba and Fred M’membe have been sued for defamation and contempt to allow the defence to study the prosecution’s objection to take the matter to the High Court for determination.

Mr Kabimba, president of Rainbow Party, is represented by Eddie Mwita while Mr M’membe is defended by Nchima Nchito and Chisuwo Hamwela.

On Monday, the defence applied to take the matter to the High Court for determination after the court refused to adjourn the matter  to study it and prepare.

But the prosecution objected to the application to refer to the matter to the High Court because it was not necessary.

Sakwiba Sikota, one of the lawyers for former president Rupiah Banda, said the application was meant to embarrass and delay the trial. Another lawyer Makebi Zulu said the application was a legal scandal.

Lusaka magistrate Kenneth Mulife yesterday adjourned the matter to May 5 after the defence applied.

This is in the matter in which former president Banda used Mr Kabimba and Mr M’membe for defamation and contempt.

Before the matter was adjourned, one of the defence lawyers Nchima Nchito said the application for constitutional reference of the matter to the High Court was not an application for adjournment.

Mr Nchito said the conditions under which the application was made were very clear and that the refusal by the court to adjourn the matter to enable defence lawyers has access was an infringement.

He said the question that the court has to deal with was whether the proposed application was frivolous. Mr Nchito said the denial by the court to adjourn amounts to denying accused persons time to adequately prepare for the court proceedings.

Mr Sikota said no one has stopped them from accessing the records they talked about on Monday and ensure that they secured them so the court was not faced unnecessary delay.

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