Zambia police caution opposition leader for 'defaming' Sata

Zambia's President Michael Sata. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

Zambia Police Monday warned and cautioned opposition Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) president Nevers Mumba for allegedly defaming President Michael Sata.

"We have warned and cautioned pastor Nevers Mumba for utterances bordering on defaming the President contrary to section 69 of the Penal Code of the Laws of Zambia," Police spokesman Rae Hamoonga told Africa Review.

Pastor Mumba, leader of the former ruling party, is alleged to have "insulted" President Sata when he appeared on a local radio talk show on Thursday last week.

But Pastor Mumba, who was at the Woodlands Police Station, denied insulting or defaming President Sata.

Speaking to journalists after appearing at the police station in Lusaka, Pastor Mumba said all he was doing was merely remind President Sata's government of the promises they made prior to the 2011 elections.

"I have been warned," he said."They say my statement is defamatory of the President."

One party

Pastor Mumba described President Sata as being overly-sensitive to criticism.

"Is reminding him of the jobs he promised, the more money he promised people in their pockets, is that a lie or an insult?" Pastor Mumba remarked to journalists amid singing of party supporters.

"But if intimidation is all the tactics he has, I'll not be intimidated."

He said President Sata promised the Zambian people a constitution in 90 days but two days later the promise has never been fulfilled.

And in his open address to President Sata, Pastor Mumba said in part:"I have been informed that you called the police, to effect my arrest for what you termed "insults against your person. Allow me, your Excellency to state my position and that of the MMD on this matter. I admonish you to take great comfort in the fact that I have never insulted you before, and I have no proven capacity to insult you in the future."

Some journalists and opposition leaders have been dragged to the police and the courts for criticising President Sata and his regime which police interpret as "defamation" of the head of state who is two years old in power.

The opposition have accused President Sata of driving the southern African nation to a one party state, allegations he denies.

Defamation of the President carries a sentence of not less than two years on conviction.

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