Power and Politics

Alleged Hate Speech: Court dismisses lawsuit against UPND Secretary-General, Imenda


Lusaka Magistrate, Nsunge Chanda, has dismissed the matter against UPND Secretary-General, Batuke Imenda, accused of propagating hate speech by calling Catholic Archbishop Alick Banda, the ‘Lucifer’ of Zambia.

Magistrate Chanda dismissed the case commenced by opposition leader, Sean Tembo, on ground that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) had maintained his refusal to grant the complainant consent to privately prosecute Imenda.

Read more: Lawyers for UPND secretary-general, Imenda, describe PeP leader, Tembo as ‘incompetent’, ‘impotent’ at law

Earlier in her ruling, Magistrate Chanda refused to refer the matter to the Constitutional Court as requested by Imenda.

She further added that there was nothing wrong with Tembo addressing the court while standing at the bar as he was the complainant in the case and was merely addressing the court about the process.

“Further, I have not received any copy of the consent from the DPP to authorize the prosecution of this matter. But I would like to state that a letter has been addressed to the court where the DPP has stated his position.

“With that letter from the office of the DPP, that he has maintained and has not granted authority to the complainant to prosecute the matter. I therefore, state that being no consent from the DPP given to the complainant to prosecute this matter, I dismiss this matter,” she said.

Imenda’s lawyers had referred to Tembo as a prosecutor who was incompetent and impotent at law, thus, should not have addressed the court from the bar.

This is in a matter Patriots for Economic Progress (PeP) president Tembo sued Imenda for hate speech for allegedly referring to Archbishop Banda as the ‘Lucifer of Zambia’.

It is alleged that on May 28, 2023, Imenda at a press briefing and in a widely circulated audio did utter that the Lusaka Archbishop Banda was the Lucifer of Zambia.

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

The DPP in his letter refused to authorize the private prosecution saying he had not seen any evidence showing that Imenda had used a computer system when he committed the alleged offence as required by Section 65 of the Cyber Security and Cyber Crimes Act No.2 of 2021 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.

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