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Court refuses UPND Secretary-General, Imenda’s application to dismiss hate speech allegations


The Lusaka Magistrates’ Court has rejected an application by UPND Secretary-General, Batuke Imenda, to have the matter he is sued for hate speech for allegedly calling Catholic Archbishop Alick Banda “the Lucifer of Zambia” dismissed.

Ruling on the application, Thursday, Magistrate Nsunge Chanda said the case commenced by opposition leader, Sean Tembo, was properly before the Court in accordance with Section 90 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC).

Read more: UPND Secretary-General, Imenda, dragged to Court for allegedly calling Catholic Archbishop ‘Lucifer’

Magistrate Nsunge thus dismissed the application.

However, Imenda could not take plea because the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Gilbert Phiri, was yet to give consent to Tembo to prosecute the matter.

The matter was adjourned to March 4, 2024, pending the DPP’s instructions.

The DPP in a letter dated January 15, 2024, refused to grant Patriots for Economic Progress (PeP) president, Tembo, permission to privately prosecute the accused.

Phiri said he could not permit Tembo to conduct a private prosecution because he had not availed any cogent evidence to show that Imenda committed the offence of Hate Speech by means of a Computer System as required by section 65 of the Cyber Security and Cyber Crimes Act of the Laws of Zambia.

Tembo wrote back to the DPP on January 22, 2024, and enclosed a Flash drive with video evidence clearly to demonstrate that Imenda used a Computer System when he committed the alleged offence.

He had also informed the DPP that he had four witnesses ready to testify in court that the accused did utter Hate Speech and used a computer system to do so.

Tembo in his complaint stated that on May 28, 2023, Imenda at a press briefing which was also streamed on various online platforms, did utter that the Lusaka Archbishop Banda was the Lucifer of Zambia.

He contended the said statement by the ruling party’s Secretary-General constituted hate speech against the Archbishop.

“That the conduct of the accused is criminalised under Section 65 of the Cyber Security and Cyber Crimes Act no.2 of 2021 of the laws of Zambia,” he said.

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