On 10th January 2022, Patriotic Front member of central committee, who is also the party’s Information and Publicity chairperson , Mr. Raphael Nakacinda was in Kabwata Constituency campaigning for the upcoming by-elections. He was caught on camera saying that “baHakainde tekeni amatako panshi nagovernment yenu, mwambe ukutontonkanya”. On 13th January 2022 Mr. Nakacinda was arrested on allegations that he defamed the president. This issue has brought controversy in the country and several publications have been made on different social media platforms questing if Mr. Nakacinda’s statement is defamatory to the President.
The claim that Patriotic Front (PF) Information and Publicity Chairperson, Raphael Nakacinda, defamed President Hakainde Hichilema when he said “…this is a vote to make sure Mr Hakainde Hichilema should put his buttocks down and think before he takes any action… baHakainde tekeni amatako panshi nagovernment yenu, mwambe ukutontonkanya…” is unproven as the courts of law are yet to maker a determination. In the Zambian context, the Bemba language proverb/saying “ukuteka amatako panshi” or “teka amatako panshi” simply means “take it easy” or “one should take caution or be careful in their doings”. In the case in question, the PF’s Nakacinda is allegedly to have defamed the President under Section 69 of the Penal Code, which states that: “Any person who, with intent to bring the President into hatred, ridicule or contempt, publishes any defamatory or insulting matter, whether by writing, print, word of mouth or in any other manner, is guilty of an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a period not exceeding three years.”
The interpretation of the defamatory statement is subject to court examination in reference to, the Penal Code Act of Zambia. Nakacinda’s case of defamation, is yet to take plea as principal resident magistrate Jennifer Bwalya Bwalya is yet to deliver a ruling on whether she can proceed to prosecute him while the matter is pending determination before the Constitutional Court. This was after Lawyers representing Mr Nakacinda, Makebi Zulu and Jonas Zimba argued that the state cannot maintain a case of defamation of the President against their client when the President cannot be cross examined in relation to the alleged offense. This is a developing story and iVerify will update this report as the story develops.