Court jails ex-commando for defaming Lungu

A RETIRED army commando of Ndola has been convicted for defamation of the President, after calling the Head of State a “dog”.

This is in a matter where Mwepu, 56 of Kabushi in Ndola was charged with defamation of the President contrary to section 69 of the Penal Code Chapter 87 of the Laws of Zambia. Particulars allege that Mwepu on September 6, 2018, in Ndola, with intent to bring the name of President into hatred, ridicule or contempt did utter defamatory words that ‘President Edgar Lungu is an idiot and a dog.’

Mwepu had denied the charge and is on police bond. This was after Mwepu’s neighbour, Rose Mukapo, who is Patriotic Front Copperbelt chairlady, heard him insult the President each time he returned home from drinking. She said after observing that the insults were too much, Mukapo instructed her son to place a phone recorder near Mwepu’s house and recorded all his outbursts against the President. Mukapo said Mwepu said President was an idiot and a dog.

And in his testimony, Mukapo’s son, Yasini Mupeta, said he placed a phone recorder in the big crack which separates Mwepu’s house from his parent’s house. He said the insults were too much and that was why he decided to record him. And assistant superintendent Peter Bwalya said he charged Mwepu after listening to a recording which was presented to police by the complainant. In his defence, Mwepu opted to remain silent and called his wife as witness. In her testimony, Editunda Mwepu said she was surprised that her husband was arrested as he did not hear him insult the President. In delivering judgment last week, Ndola resident magistrate Chinga Chitabo found Mwepu guilty and convicted him accordingly.

In his mitigation, Mwepu asked for leniency. But magistrate Chitabo said the evidence attained a degree of cogency which can permit only an inference of guilt that it was Mwepu who committed the offence.

“I find that the state has proved the case and I find that the State has proved the case of defamation of the President,” he said.

Magistrate Chitabo sentenced Mwepu to three years but suspended for two years meaning he will serve one year.

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