Lusaka magistrate Sylvia Munyinya has sentenced a 27-year-old teacher of Samfya district in Luapula Province to two years imprisonment with hard labour for defaming President Edgar Lungu.
The Court has further fined the 27-year-old K4,500, in default four months simple imprisonment, for being in possession of obscene materials.
In this matter, Enockson Banda was facing four counts of defamation of the President and being in possession of obscene materials.
Particulars of the offence were that between April 1 and June 30 last year, Banda, with intent to bring the name of the President into ridicule, published defamatory statements.
Further on the same dates, Banda had in his possession obscene materials, including pictures tending to corrupt morals.
Banda had initially denied all the charges in the matter last year and trial had commenced but he had, however, changed his plea on Friday last week when he admitted all charges.
The matter came up, Monday, for facts and sentencing.
Facts in this matter were that on 18 April, last year, Chanoda Ngwira, a PF sympathiser, opened his Facebook account and came across a page called ‘ZNBC Top Stories’ where a picture of the Republican President was attached to another picture with a skull which had faecal matter with words saying ‘this is the only thing that occupies his head’.
Ngwira further saw a picture of dogs and chickens having sex and words saying ‘so even Edgar Chagwa Lungu f**ks dogs style’.
It was at this point that Ngwira decided to report the matter to the police and Banda was later arrested.
When his phone was searched, a lot of obscene materials were found.
When he was asked on the insults, Banda said he was annoyed because he was not employed by government as a teacher.
The accused was formally arrested for the offence and the matter taken to court but in the process of trial the accused turned his plea and admitted the charges.
When the court asked him whether the facts were true and correct, Banda responded in the affirmative.
In mitigation through his lawyer, Banda asked for maximum leniency saying he was of a youthful age and also a family man with a two-year-old child.
He said had used the time he was in custody from June last year until November 2018 when he was granted bail, to reflect on his actions.
Banda added that he had realised that what he did was wrong and promised to be a law abiding citizen.
He said he was a frustrated youth who had been affected by the harsh economic times because he graduated in 2015 but had not been employed in government whereas some of his colleagues who had completed in 2017 had been employed.
“To today, I’m haunted by my actions and I have imprisoned myself psychologically. I promise that I will be a law abiding citizen and will be an ambassador of peace and will respect each and every citizen,” he said.
However, magistrate Munyinya sentenced him to two years in imprisonment with hard labour for Defamation of the President and fined him K4,500 for being in possession of obscene materials.
“I have considered the mitigation. In count one, I hereby sentence you to two years imprisonment with hard labour. In count two, I sentence you to two years with hard labour. In count three, I sentence you to a fine of K4,500 in default, four months simple imprisonment and the sentences will run concurrently,” she ruled.
Meanwhile, magistrate Munyinya has given Chilufya Tayali a benefit of doubt in the matter where he’s facing seven counts of contempt of court and publishing defamatory statements against a Lusaka citizen, Edward Sichali, warning that in the next sitting she will proceed to hear the matter with or without the defence.
Tayali is alleged to have accused Sichali of being sponsored by UPND president Hakainde Hichilema to hold a protest at the University of Zambia which saw the death of a fourth year Education Student Vespers Shimuzhila last year.
Tayali had pleaded not guilty to the charges in November last year but trial has not yet commenced.
And when the matter came up for possible commencement of trial before magistrate Munyinya, Monday, the complainant’s lawyer Mulambo Haimbe informed the court that the defence counsel had an application to make.
The defence then applied for adjournment on the premises that the lawyer who would handle the matter, Jonas Zimba, was indisposed.
Magistrate Munyinya then adjourned the matter to April 1 at 12 hours, warning them that at the next sitting she would hear the matter with or without the defence.
“For today I will give the defence a benefit of doubt. This is the last adjournment. Next time with or without the defence I will proceed to hear this matter,” said magistrate Munyinya.