TWO men of Chienge district in Luapula Province were last week on Friday June 24 2022, sentenced to 24 months imprisonment with hard labour for defamation of the President.
The duo were facing one count of defamation of the president contrary to section 69 of the Penal Code Chapter 87 of the Law.
Before Resident Magistrate Luckson Mbewe, was Danny Kapambwe 28 and Justine Chimpinde 19 of Chienge district who pleaded guilty to one count of defamation of the President when the matter came up for plea.
Facts are that on June 14, 2022 around 14:00 hours ,George Mulenga Chanda of Kasoma Village in Change saw and watched a video on Tik tok were the accused persons were seen publishing insults by word of mouth whose insults were directed to the Republican President Hakainde Hichilema.
The following day around 14:00 hours Chanda reported the matter to Chienge Police and acting on the information, Detective Inspector Chilembo disseminated the information to Chipungu border post to search for accused persons.
On the same day the duo were apprehended by the Zambia Police and Zambia Army Officers based at Chipungu border post.
The accused persons were then surrendered to Chienge Police where the arresting officer recorded a warning and caution statement.
Kapambwe admitted using his phone to record the same video in which Chimpinde featured.
He then led the arresting officer where the phone was.
On the same day, the duo were jointly arrested and charged for defamation of the President.
When asked by the Resident Magistrate if they understood the statement of facts, the duo responded affirmatively adding that they did not wish to add or subtract anything as the facts were true and correct.
In mitigation, the duo pleaded with the court to exercise leniency with them as they had learnt lessons from their deeds.
“We are asking for forgiveness and leniency from this court because our families will suffer if we are given custodial sentence. We admit we were stupid and did not know what we were doing,” they pleaded.
In passing sentence, Resident Magistrate Mbewe said he took note that the accused are first offenders who readily admitted the charge without wasting the courts time but insulting the Republican President or any other person is an offence and perpetrators need to be punished to deter would-be offenders.
“I take note that the trend of insulting the Head of State with impunity is growing in this country even if it is an ordinary person. The trend of showing insults at an elderly person is not only against our culture but also an offence under our Penal Code,” he said
Magistrate Mbewe sentenced both the accused to 24 months imprisonment with hard labour with effect from June 15, 2022.
He informed them of their right to appeal.