Kapita sues UPND members for defamation

By Nation Reporter

THE Lusaka High Court has set June 27 for hearing in a matter in which former UPND vice president for administration Richard Kapita has sued four senior party members for defamation of character and is demanding K1 million compensation from each of them.

Mr Kapita, a businessman and member of the Patriotic Front, has sued Watson Lumba, Mark Kalemba, Grandson Katambi and Mulondwe Muzungu for alleging that he was a thief and was lured with money to defect to the ruling PF party.

High Court judge Petronella Ngulube set the date for hearing  yesterday.

In this case, Kapita accused Mr Muzungu of uttering defamatory words on a Mwinilungu radio programme while Mr Lumba, Mr Kalemba and Mr Katambi allegedly issued the libelous words in Solwezi during a live phone-in programme on North-Western television on May 23, 2015.

Mr Kapita claims for an injunction to restrain the defendants by themselves, their servants or agents or otherwise from further publishing the said or any similar libel concerning him.

He is also claiming any other relief the court might deem fit and costs incidental to the proceedings.

In the statement of claim, Mr Kapita stated that Mr Muzungu allegedly said those leaving the UPND to join the PF were thieves who were afraid of prosecution; that they had stolen and that they were looking for help from the Government.

Mr Muzungu is also alleged to have said that people leaving the UPND were thieves who had stolen from their previous parties and were joining their fellow thieves to continue stealing.

But Mr Kapita said the words in their natural and ordinary meaning meant that he was a thief who had resigned from the UPND with improper base and sordid motives of running away from prosecution.

Meanwhile, the Lusaka High Court has discharged a matter in which Post Newspaper’s Editor-in-Chief Fred M’membe and reporter Mukosha Funga were facing a charge of publishing classified information.

State Prosecutor Mr Mutale informed the court that the State wished to take a particular course of action in relation to the matter before court.

Mr Mutale said the state wished to give an account of events leading to the action the State was taking.

He added that the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) generated a letter which was classified and sadly the correspondence found itself in wrong hands and was published in a tabloid in contradiction to section 5 of the State Security Act. Mr Mutale said arising from that, a complaint was lodged and investigations instituted. The prospective witnesses  were identified and statements recorded.

He further said amazingly from the time proceedings commenced in January this year, seeking to prosecute this matter had been met with resistance from the very people who were supposed to state that the correspondence was leaked and published in contradiction to the law

Given this situation, it became clear that the State was fighting against itself to make progress.

M’membe and Funga denied the charge and were later committed to the High Court by Lusaka Magistrate Humphrey Chitalu.

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