AGRICULTURE minister Michael Katambo has asked the Lusaka High Court to enter judgment against Masaiti ward councillor Delight Mutale for conceding to having defamed him.
Katambo said Mutale caused to be published an apology in the newspaper for alleging, among others things, that he (Katambo) was the worst corrupt minister in President Edgar Lungu’s cabinet.
This is in a matter where Katambo, who is also Masaiti member of parliament, has sued Mutale seeking damages for defamation of character for alleging that he has amassed wealth using his privileged position.
Katambo wants the Lusaka High Court to compel Mutale to render an apology to be circulated to the recipient of the defamatory statements and conversely a public apology in the daily newspaper having wide circulation in the country.
In his statement of claim, Katambo said that between September 2019 and January 2020, Mutale issued slanderous statements against him to various people alleging that he was a thief who had been stealing taxpayers’ money.
Katambo said that Mutale accused him of being cruel and inhuman and that he had abandoned his family.
He said Mutale alleged that he had no regard or respect for elected councillors in his constituency and as such he was unpopular and had no respect for the Lamba royal establishment and the chiefs.
Katambo contended that the words complained of in their ordinary and natural meaning were meant to mean or suggested that he was dishonest and a corrupt man, who was motivated by money and that he was a deceitful person who lacked integrity to hold the office and position of Masaiti member of parliament and Minister of Agriculture.
But in his defense, Mutale denied issuing slanderous statements against Katambo.
Mutale argued that Katambo was not entitled to a public apology and damages for defamation of character, punitive damages, damages for mental distress and anguish.
He denied uttering statements that Katambo had amassed wealth by stealing taxpayers’ money neither did he say that the latter was cruel, inhuman and had abandoned his family.
Mutale said he would put Katambo to strict proof that the words complained of in their ordinary and natural meaning were meant to mean or suggested that the minister was dishonest and a corrupt man who is motivated by money and that he is a deceitful person who lacks integrity to hold the office and position of Masaiti member of parliament and Minister of Agriculture.
He further denied that the words complained of by Katambo were meant to mean that he was an insensitive, inhuman, cruel person who has failed to take care of his family and has failed to run the affairs of his constituency and was unfit to hold the office of member of parliament, and lacked respect for traditional leaders.
Mutale refuted assertions by Katambo that the alleged defamatory statements contained serious untrue and highly defamatory comments towards him because some contain malicious falsehood.
However, Katambo wants the court to grant him an order for Judgment on admission against Mutale, claiming the latter had admitted to defaming him.
Katambo claimed Mutale had rendered an apology to him in the newspaper for alleging that he was the worst corrupt minister.
“The defendant has admitted to defaming me by the scandalous words he uttered. I have been advised by my Advocates Messrs. BCM Legal Practitioners and I verily believe the same to be true that this is a proper cause for this Honourable Court to enter Judgment on Admission as the defendant unequivocally admitted to defaming the plaintiff,” said Katambo.