A witness has told the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court that he has no documentary evidence to prove his claim that he taught President Edgar Lungu.
And New Labour Party Leader Fresher Siwale has applied to the Lusaka High Court to review the decision of Lusaka magistrate Alice Walusiku in which she declined to refer the defamation of the President case for constitutional determination.
It is alleged that Siwale on April 22, 2018, with intent to bring the name of President Edgar Lungu into ridicule, published defamatory matter by word of mouth to which he said ‘the President of the Republic of Zambia is not the actual Edgar Chagwa Lungu but Jonathan Mutawale, he must be arrested for having three National Registration Cards, he is an identity ‘thief’.
When the case came up for continued hearing, President Lungu’s former teacher Nelson Dhiliwayo, a 76-year-old retired teacher and small scale farmer, informed magistrate Walusiku that he has not brought a class list of pupils he taught at Ishuko Primary school in Kitwe.
The witness had testified that President Lungu was always in group A.
Dhiliwayo further agreed with the defence that it was not possible to remember all the students who were in his class without a list.
He said he could not even remember if there was Jonathan Mutawale in his class.
“I have no register where President Edgar Lungu’s name is. Unfortunately, the school doesn’t have old registers,” the witness said.
Dhiliwayo said before Charles Mulewa who was President Lungu’s classmate reminded him the President was his former pupil, he had no recollection of him being a pupil.
He also said it was important for good citizens to inquire into the identity of the President and that it was everyone’s democratic right.
The witness said he didn’t know the President’s nationality adding that all he knew was that he was Zambian.
The case has been adjourned to November 12, for continuation of trial.
Ealier before continuation of trial, Siwale’s lawyers Gilbert Phiri and Keith Mweemba applied that the matter be stood down on the basis that they had a hearing of an application filed in the High Court calling upon the court to review the decision of October 11,2019.
Public prosecutor Abraham Ngozo did not object to the application and magistrate Walusiku agreed to stand down the case.
In the October 11 ruling, magistrate Walusiku refused to halt the criminal proceedings before her, saying no interlocutory application can stay proceedings in the criminal matter but Siwale appealed to the High Court.
Meanwhile, in an affidavit in support of ex parte summons for review, Siwale stated that in the absence of the stay of the criminal proceedings, it was highly likely that he may be convicted on an offence that may subsequently be declared unconstitutional or the proceedings may otherwise come to a close and the appeal rendered academic.
“It is imperative that the record be recalled for review as honourable court has a jurisdiction to review a case brought to its attention and can thus make a determination on the dismissal of the application by the lower court,” Siwale said.