By PERPETUAL SICHIKWENKWE -
SOLICITOR General Musa Mwenye has sued United Party for National Development (UPND) president Hakainde Hichilema’s special adviser, Douglas Siakalima and two others for defamation of character over an article published in the Daily Nation Newspaper.
The article was calling for Mr Mwenye and Justice Minister Wynter Kabimba’s arrest for allegedly rendering their legal opinion in a matter in which MMD leader Nevers Mumba was cited for contempt in the Supreme Court.
But Mr Mwenye has said the article attributed to Mr Siakalima, published by the Daily Nation and its proprietor Richard Sakala, was not only malicious, but was also calculated to mean that he was a criminal who had committed criminal activities.
He had since asked the Lusaka High Court to order Mr Siakalima, Mr Sakala and the newspaper to pay him damages for libel, exemplary damages and that they be restrained through an injunction from further publishing similar words against him.
Mr Mwenye stated in his statement of claim, filed in the Lusaka principal registry yesterday, that Mr Siakalima, Mr Sakala and the Daily Nation newspaper caused to be published the said article on the front page of the newspaper on December 26, 2013.
He said the words in their natural and ordinary meaning meant and were calculated to mean that he had rendered an opinion to the Acting Chief Justice Lombe Chibesakunda in a matter that was active before the courts of law.
Mr Mwenye said the words were also understood to mean that he had connived to defeat the course of justice and was not fit to hold the office of solicitor general as he was dishonest.
“The said words were calculated to disparage the plaintiff (Mr Mwenye) and cause injury to the plaintiff’s personal and professional reputation in the estimation of reasonable and right thinking members of society” the statement of claim read.
Mr Mwenye said that on December 26, 2013, through his advocates Musa Mwenye-Advocates, he wrote to the defendants informing them that at no time did he render an opinion to Ms Justice Chibesakunda and that he rendered a professional opinion on the provisions of sections 22 of the Electoral Act number 12 of 2006 in the same manner he rendered opinions to other government ministries and public officials.
He said instead of publishing an apology, the newspaper disparaged Mr Mwenye further in its editorial of December 27, 2013, despite having known that he never did as they were alleging.
He said the defendants had failed, neglected or refused to render an apology and retraction despite knowing that the allegations against him were false or reckless.
Mr Mwenye stated that unless the trio was restrained through an injunction, they would continue publishing or causing to be published similar defamatory words.
He said his reputation had been seriously damaged and he had suffered considerable ridicule and embarrassment