By Staff Reporter
LUSAKA magistrate Felix Kaoma has directed Peter Chanda to file a new charge sheet against Chishimba Kambwili in the interest of justice.
Chanda is a complainant in a case in which Kambwili has been charged with defamation of President Edgar Lungu over his statement that the latter was engaging in drug-related activities.
Magistrate Kaoma made the directive after lead private prosecutor Jonas Zimba applied to amend the indictment which is a mixture of bemba language after Kambwili told the court that he did not understand the charge.
In this case which has come by way of complaint by Chanda against Kambwili, the accused is charged with defaming President Lungu after he questioned the President’s association with businessman Valden Findlay whom he says was dealing in drugs.
After magistrate Kaoma read out the defamation of the President charge to Kambwili, he told the court that he did not understand it.
And one of Kambwili’s lawyers Keith Mweemba said the charge is supposed to be clear and in a language he understands.
Another lawyer for Kambwili, Gilbert Phiri added that the instructions from Kambwili were that he did not understand the charge.
“Even we as counsel cannot decipher what is being communicated and which language is being used,” he said.
Phiri added that the prosecution needed to align the charges with the law.
At this point, Zimba applied to amend the indictment so that it is crystal clear pursuant to section 213 of the Criminal Procedure Code chapter 87 of the laws of Zambia.
In his ruling, magistrate Kaoma allowed the amendment of the indictment and directed that the complainant Chanda files in a new indictment.
Magistrate Kaoma adjourned the case to November 25, 2019 for plea.
Earlier, magistrate Kaoma declined to adjourn the case, insisting that Kambwili must take plea.
This was after Mweemba asked the court for an adjournment so that he can appreciate the content of the complaint.
However, Zimba objected, saying the accused had enough time to look at the complaint.
Zimba argued that Kambwili should take plea because the law allows him to change plea at any given time.
Magistrate Kaoma in his ruling ordered him to take plea and it was at this point that Kambwili after being asked if he understood the charge said he did not, prompting the court to stand down for 30 minutes.
When the case resumed, Kambwili’s lawyers raised issues that the indictment was not clear leading to the adjournment to November 25.
Meanwhile, Chanda in his complaint filed in court, stated that Kambwili’s words are defamatory and intended to bring the President into hatred, ridicule and contempt that the Head of State is engaging in illegal drug related activities and using the Presidential plane to courier drugs as per words of mouth made on Diamond television and as appearing from the social media and video particularly, Facebook; Zambia Watchdog.
He stated that the video of Kambwili uttering the said words by mouth has been viewed by the public on Facebook and also published by the Mast Newspaper and News Diggers.
“I verily believe that I have a reasonable and probable cause that an offence has been committed by the accused necessitating a complaint and that he has no justification to utter by word of mouth defamatory matter to the nation and the world at large against his Excellency Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, the Republican President of Zambia,” further read Chanda’s complaint in part.