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M’membe loses defamation case

By GRACE CHAILE-LESOETSA

SOCIALIST Party leader Fred M’membe has lost a case in which he sued Rainbow Party leader Wynter Kabimba, Millennium Radio and Daily Nation newspaper for defamation of character over allegations that his party is funded by homosexual organisations.

Lusaka High Court Judge Sharon Newa in her judgment said Daily Nation’s publication of the said uttered words by Mr Kabimba enjoyed the benefit of the defence of fair comment.

In this matter, Mr M’membe and his general secretary Cosmas Musumali were seeking general compensatory damages for defamation of character for the words published by the defendants on various dates but between April 3, 2018 and May 9, 2018.

The two wanted an injunction to restrain Mr Kabimba, Daily Nation and Ms Patricia Chibiliti sued in her capacity as Millennium Radio station manager from further publishing or causing to be published the said or any similar words defamatory of the plaintiffs.

In a statement of claim, Mr M’membe stated that on April 3, 2018, Mr Kabimba was featured on Millennium Radio’s “The Interview” programme where he charged that leaders of the newly established Socialist Party had left Rainbow Party after they differed on their beliefs in God and on receiving funding from homosexual organisations.

Ms Justice Newa said it has not been established that Daily Nation did not accurately publish the words uttered by Mr Kabimba.

She said the rest of the  articles named in the statement of claim as being defamatory have not in any way been established to have quoted anything untrue, thus are equally fair comment.

“The claims for damages for defamation of character accordingly fails, with costs to the defendants, to be taxed in default of agreement. Leave to appeal is granted,” said Ms Justice Newa.

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