DR Chitalu Chilufya says if former Health Professions Council of Zambia chief executive officer Dr Aaron Mujajati takes the statements that he issues in his capacity as minister of health, it is his own fault.
Chilufya emphasized that he has qualified privilege to express his opinion on matters that concern the Ministry of Health.
This is in a matter where Dr Mujajati has sued Dr Chilufya and the State for defamation of character and is seeking an injunction restraining the minister from uttering further defamatory words against him.
Dr Mujajati is claiming damages from Dr Chilufya for uttering defamatory words at a press briefing that he was being irrational and inhuman when he (Mujajati ) closed down health institutions on flimsy grounds.
In his defence, Dr Chilufya said that here was no malicious or false statement issued at a press conference to defame Dr Mujajati in any manner.
He said Mujajati was seconded to Health Professions Council of Zambia as registrar before he was recalled.
“It shall be averred at trial that the second defendant (Dr Chilufya) did not issue any malicious and or false statement against the plaintiff. Further, the plaintiff was recalled from his secondment by the Public Service Commission through the Ministry of Health as he was a civil servant,” Dr Chilufya stated.
” The statements of claim are denied in their entirety as the plaintiff cannot go round assuming facts that are not in existence. The plaintiff has based his claims on assumptions and assuming facts does not make them true or real.”
And Attorney General Likando Kalaluka claimed that the statement made by Dr Chilufya against Dr Mujajati was not false or malicious.
Kalaluka said the statement emanated from the background that Dr Chilufya’s office had received numerous complaints from health institutions and mission hospitals, among others, over the conduct of HPCZ in ensuring compliance with health service delivery.
“This was not the first time the Minister of Health had admonished HPCZ for the manner of inspection of health facilities. This press conference was not aimed at the plaintiff, it was called to address the many concerns raised by the conduct of HPCZ as a whole,” Kalaluka said.
“The Minister of Health was protecting the Zambian people from a deterioration of lack of health service access by wrongful closure of health facilities.”
Kalaluka said Dr Mujajati’s interpretation of the statement was incorrect, adding that the fact that the Health Professions Council did not publicly make comments against the acts of Dr Mujajati absolves the fact that there were irregularities at HPCZ.
Kalaluka said that Chilufya had not issued any other statements in relation to Dr Mujajati as his energy was focused on universal health care to the Zambian people.
“The plaintiff (Dr Mujajati) is no longer an issue in the eyes of the state because the actions of the Health Professions Council of Zambia are now in line with the agenda of proper health service delivery to the Zambian people,” said Kalaluka.