By LUCY PHIRI
AN arresting officer has told the Lusaka Magistrate Court that Raphael Nakacinda did not defame President Hakainde Hichilema when he claimed that the head of State had met judges.
Detective Chief Inspector Innocent Makukwani has testified that it was not defamatory to say the President was meeting judges.
Detective Chief Inspector Makukwani was responding to a question by defence Lawyer Mr. Jonas Zimba during cross examination.
Mr. Zimba had asked if it was defamatory if one says the President was meeting judges.
In this matter, Patriotic Front (PF) Information and Publicity Secretary, Raphael Nakacinda aged 43 of farm number 1794, Kafue denied defaming President Hakainde Hichilema contrary to section 69 of the penal code chapter 87 of the laws of Zambia.
Meanwhile, the court has set April 19, 2023 as a date it will rule on whether or not Nakacinda has a case to answer or not after the state informed it that they had closed its prosecution case.
Mr. Mukukwani submitted before the court that he made up his mind to arrest and charge Nakacinda with the offence of defamation of the President because he saw him uttering the remarks on a television footage that he obtained from Muvi television.
He testified that he saw and heard Nakacinda defaming President Hakainde Hichilema after viewing a footage that he obtained from Muvi television.
“I based my arrest on the remarks that Nakacinda issued which were offensive against the President. I did not get a satisfactory response from him in the warn and caution statement i recorded from him because the he opted to remain silent,” he said.
Mr. Makukwani submitted that on December 18, 2021 he reported for duty around 7: 30 hours and in the afternoon he was assigned to investigate a case of defamation of the President.
He said it was alleged in the matter that Nakacinda had made remarks at the High Court grounds in Lusaka after addressing a group of people among them journalists that Mr Hichilema had begun summoning judges in the night at his residence to intimidate and coerce them to help him form a one-party state Government. Mr Makukwani alleged that the statement was broadcast by several media among them Muvi Television.
“Acting on the matter, I obtained the footage of Nakacinda’s address from Muvi Television and after going through it, it was discovered that he uttered the said words. I extended my interrogations to State House where i met with the private principal secretary to the president, Alfred Chipoya who is in charge of making appointments for the President and gave me the President diary for that week,” he said.
Mr Makukwani further said that he was given the President’s diary and after checking, he established that the President had not met anyone from the judiciary (judges) in the month of December.
He submitted that many other people complained about Nakacinda’s remarks among them Ackson Mabeta, Moses Mulonda and Eric Munabembe of which he interviewed them on the matter.
“I summoned Nakacinda to the police station and was brought by his lawyers, I warned and cautioned him about the charge of defamation but he denied. I then proceeded to charge him with the offence of defamation of the President because i heard him uttering the statements in a footage he obtained from Muvi,” he said.
Further in cross examination, when asked by Mr. Francis Daka whether he interviewed Mr Hichilema on the issue to find out if he had complained about Nakacinda’s remarks, he responded in the negative.
It is alleged that Nakacinda on December 13, 2021 in Lusaka, with intent to bring the name of Mr Hichilema into hatred, ridicule and contempt, did cause to be published defamatory matter by word of mouth, where he addressed people at the High Court of Zambia, which was also broadcasted by Muvi television that “ His Excellency
President Mr Hakainde Hichilema had begun to summon Judges at his private residence, intimidating and coercing them to frustrate PF legal battles.”