PATRIOTIC Front member Innocent Kalimanshi has been taken to court by fellow party member Francis Muchemwa for alleging that he is a professional assassin hired by the government to kill any individual who offends it.
Muchemwa, who has sued Kalimashi in the Lusaka High Court, wants damages for slander and libel and an order of injunction restraining Kalimashi from repeating the defamatory statements until final determination of the matter, interests and costs.
In his statement of claim, Muchemwa said Kalimashi, on or about December 2019 and May 2020, in contumelious disregard of his image, reputation and professional standing, uttered defamatory words against him on social media platforms alleging among other things, that he is a professional assassin and is hired by the government to murder and kill any persons who offend government.
Muchemwa said Kalimashi uttered and caused to be published on various social media platforms including but not limited to Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter, alleging that he caused the death of one individual in Kaoma district when he fired gunshots towards the deceased and had the protection of the government.
He said Kalimanshi alleged that he was allowed to misappropriate government resources for his own good and benefit and had taken part in corrupt activities with Economic and Equity Party leader Chilufya Tayali.
Muchemwa said the said words have been aired a number of times on various social media platforms, adding that in their natural and ordinary meaning, the words complained of, meant and were understood to mean that he was a murderer, corrupt and had misappropriated government funds for personal financial gain and causes a lot of harm to individuals in society.
He contended that Kalimashi has unjustly caused harm to his reputation and continues to do so by the circulation of the slanderous audios and video recording which was accessible to millions of Internet users, both at home and abroad.
Muchemwa said Kalimashi had never bothered to follow due process of inquiring from the proper channels or from him as to the accuracy of the defamatory statements and the investigations as to who and what caused the death of the deceased.
“The defendant repeatedly communicated and published the words complained of with full knowledge that they were slanderous and libelous, with a reckless disregard as to whether or not they were true, slanderous and libelous. The defendant continued his conduct of repeating falsehoods without getting the plaintiff’s side of the story affording him an opportunity to refute the said falsehoods,” Muchemwa said.
He said Kalimanshi caused the said words to be published to bring him into ridicule, to the detriment of his reputation and the material losses that he would suffer in his professional and social life.
Muchemwa lamented that the allegations were all false and untrue and that at no time did he cause the death of any individual in Zambia.
He contended that unless restrained, Kalimashi would continue to make false allegations and drag his name into disrepute.
Muchemwa said he has tried to engage with Kalimashi in an attempt to receive a public apology but to no avail as Kalimashi has ignored all possible forums for a resolution of the dispute and by virtue of the latter’s action he has suffered loss and damage.