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Zambia: Opposition Patriotic Front leader sues Times of Zambia for defamation
On 9 March 2010, opposition Patriotic Front (PF) President, Michael Sata sued the Times of Zambia for defamation and has applied for an interim injunction to restrain the newspaper and its servants or agents from publishing any defamatory words concerning him.

Times of Zambia reported on 10 March 2010 that Sata’s lawyers Ituna Partners have also filed a certificate of urgency claiming the matter was of extreme urgency and required expeditious determination as the Times of Zambia had allegedly continued to write, publish and print defamatory articles concerning Sata. In an affidavit in support of an interim injunction, Sata, stated that the Times of Zambia published articles concerning him in the editions of 22, 23, 24 and 25 February 2010. He indicated that the articles were titled "Sata leads polygamous life", "forget about presidency", "Sata is not credible". He said that the articles were allegedly defamatory.

"The words in the articles in their ordinary and natural meaning meant and were understood to mean that I am not a law abiding citizen, I have a criminal record, I am not a sincere Christian, I do not abide by the claimed, claimed Sata.

Sata said he was a staunch Christian in the Catholic Church which did not allow people leading polygamous or polyandrous lives to receive Holy Eucharist. He said that he was a politician and the alleged repetition of false imputation of a criminal character would lower his estimation in the minds of the voters. He stated that unless the defendant was restrained by the law of a court order from repeating the publication of defamatory matters, he was likely to suffer irreparable injury as his political ambitions and standing in the Catholic Church could not be atoned for by damages.

Sata is claiming for aggravated or exemplary damages, an injunction restraining the Times of Zambia from further writing, printing or circulating or otherwise publishing of the plaintiff the said or any similar libel.

The case came up on 15 March 2010 before High Court judge Evans Hamaundu and the date for hearing has been set for 22 March 2010 to allow Times of Zambia to file an affidavit in opposition.

Source: Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA)



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