PF secretary general Davies Mwila and former city market manager Mwenya Matafwali have sued Chitambala Mwewa in the Lusaka High Court demanding damages for libel and slander, for alleging that they plundered revenue generated from City Market during the PF reign.
They want an order of injunction restraining Mwewa from repeating the defamatory statements until final determination of the matter.
Matafwali and Mwila want an order compelling Mwewa to render a public apology to them.
The duo is also seeking aggravated and exemplary damages for slander and libel, interests on the sums awarded, costs and any other relief the court may deem fit.
In their statement of claim, Matafwali and Mwila stated that Mwewa on August 29, 2021 in contumelious disregard of their reputation and professional standing uttered and caused to be published on his Facebook page defamatory remarks alleging that during the PF reign money collected from City Market was channeled to Mwila and a small amount would be sent to the Lusaka City Council.
Mwewa alleged that the “City Market manager Mr Matafwali reported directly to Mr Mwila and they shared the money. This is not a secret, everyone knew, but we couldn’t say anything because the mighty Patriotic Front would shut you down”.
Matafwali and Mwila said the defamatory words were aired on various social media platforms, WhatsApp and Instagram.
They said the words in their natural and ordinary meaning meant and were understood to mean that they were thieves, misappropriated government funds for personal financial gain, they are untrustworthy and corrupt, they abused power and cannot be entrusted with public funds.
“The defendant unjustly caused harm to the plaintiff’s reputation and continues to do so by the circulation of the slanderous post which is accessible to millions of internet users, both home and abroad,” the plaintiffs claimed.
Matafwali and Mwila contended that Mwewa never bothered to follow due process of inquiring from them or proper channels about the accuracy of the information and how the local authority manages funds.
They said Mwewa repeatedly communicated and published the words complained of with full knowledge that they were slanderous and libelous, with a reckless disregard to whether or not they were true, slanderous and libelous.
“The defendants repeated the falsehoods without getting the plaintiffs’ side of the story affording them an opportunity to refute the said falsehoods,” the duo contended.
It added that Mwewa published the defamatory words for purposes of bringing them into ridicule and to the detriment of their reputation and material losses that they would suffer in their professional and social life.
Matafwali and Mwila further stated that at no time did they abuse, share or misappropriate market funds intended for the Lusaka City Council.