PATRIOTIC Front deputy media director Antonio Mwanza has sued the New Vision newspaper limited in the Lusaka High Court seeking a sum of K550,000 as exemplary damages for defamation of character.
This is in relation to an article published by the newspaper dated October 16 attributed to Mwanza saying that his genitals should be cut off if UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema wins the 2021 general elections.
Mwanza is also seeking an order that the newspaper, belonging Democratic Party leader, Harry Kalaba, be given an ultimatum of 10 days in which to publish an apology to him in its headline because the story was malicious and fake.
In his statement of claim, Mwanza stated that on October 16, 2019, the newspaper carried a screaming headline on its front page entitled “Cut my manhood if HH wins the 2021 elections- charges Antonio Mwanza”.
Mwanza said that the New Vision newspaper maliciously wrote that he had sent citizens tongue wagging when he challenged the electorate to cut his manhood Hichilema wins the 2021 general elections.
He said the newspaper attributed the story to a live phone-in-programme, which he had at Hot FM on a programme dubbed “Hot on Frank” with the Host Frank Mutubila on October 15, 2019.
Mwanza feels that the story in its natural and ordinary meaning was meant and understood that he was uncultured, disrespecting, and obnoxious with no regard for the president of UPND, an elderly person.
He contended that the New Vision sensationally placed his photograph near a story of a baby showing genitals to compound further injury to him.
“In consequence, the plaintiff has been seriously injured in his reputation and has suffered considerable distress and anxiety and has been brought into public scandal, odium and contempt,” Mwanza said.
“The defendants have acted in a contumelious disregard of the plaintiff’s rights and he would rely on the facts and matters particularized in support of his claim fir exemplary damages and damages for defamation.”
Mwanza said the story was fake, malicious and published in a sensational manner.
He said that the New Vision newspaper expressly knew or ought to have known that the story was not true and it did not attempt to obtain and verify the authenticity of the story with Hot FM.
Mwanza indicated that the court would be asked to infer that the defendants made and published the story with the knowledge that it was libelous and a reckless disregard to whether or not the story was libelous.
He said he is entitled to exemplary damages in the sum of K200,000 and K350,000 for defamation of character.