The Lusaka Magistrates Court has set Equity for and Economic Party leader Chilufya Tayali free of seven counts of defamation charges against UPND president Hakainde Hichilema after the complainant withdrew the case.
Tayali has been acquitted by magistrate Felix Kaoma after Hichilema’s lawyer, Laston Mwanabo, informed the court that his client wished to terminate the proceedings against the accused because the two parties had reconciled.
Mwanabo made the application to discontinue the matter under Section 8 of the Criminal Procedural Code.
When the matter was called, Mwanabo brought it to the attention of the court that that he wished to withdraw the matter under Section 8 by way of reconciliation.
He has indicated that in light of the reconciliation, it has been agreed that there will be no issues of compensation from either party and that the issues that brought about the action will not be repeated.
Prior to the complaint’s application, magistrate Kaoma said since there were no conditions attached which both parties will abide by, he allowed the application and acquitted Tayali.
Hichilema, on October 9 2018, reported Mr Tayali to Woodlands Police Station for criminal libel, an offence he said he considered serious.
Hichilema said this was in view of Tayali’s continued libelous statements in total defamation of his standing and reputation both as an individual and president of the biggest opposition political party in Zambia, the UPND.
The UPND leader charged that Tayali made unwarranted and unsubstantiated claims against him for a long time.
Hichilema indicated that citizens would agree with him that he had been very tolerant of Tayali despite the many defamatory statements he had made against him for simply taking a stand on things and his political beliefs.