By Mwaka Ndawa
LUSAKA lawyer Dickson Jere has sued economist Noel Nkhoma for defamation of character for allegedly calling him a liar and an attention seeker.
Jere, who served as former president Rupiah Banda’s special assistant for press and public relations, is seeking damages for malicious falsehood, libel, aggravated damages including damages for Nkhoma’s failure to render an apology.
In his statement of claim, Jere said that on August 9, 2020, he wrote an eulogy in honour of the late Zambia Security and Intelligence Services director general Samuel Nkhoma titled ‘The spy who loved me’.
He stated that in the article, he recounted a few fond memories of his interactions with the late Nkhoma and the said article was posted on his Facebook page on August 9.
Jere said without invitation or due cause, Nkhoma responded to him by writing a commentary on mass communication cross platform messaging application WhatsApp group called Dynamic Analysis which had in excess of 200 members.
He said Nkhoma said that “Baba ponda, don’t believe everything that Dickson writes about us he is an attention seeker and I know that was not the DG we knew. He claims relavence when he was nowhere close to the man. So sad that he can write about DG like this. Shame on him. zikomo.”
Jere contended that Nkhoma reposted verbatim on various WhatsApp groups including one called ‘Business and interaction’ which has a membership of over 200.
He said the widely read online media publication Zambian Watchdog quoting Nkhoma circulated comments which were captured in an article titled “Jere is lying, he didn’t know the DG, says Noel Nkhoma…”
Jere said Nkhoma had expressed shock at the eulogy published by him.
He said Nkhoma uttered and posted his commentary or words knowing that they were false but designed to disparage and demean him with the full intent that the commentary or words be distributed to everyone and he was responsible for its distribution and circulation to all other platforms and persons both local and internationally.
“In their natural and ordinary meaning the defendant’s words meant and were understood to mean that plaintiff is an untruthful person with tendency to tell lies and is thus a lair and an untrustworthy person who is also an attention seeker claiming a relationship that he did not have for purpose of personal gratification,” Jere said.
He claimed that Nkhoma invited his audience and general public to despise him and hold him in contempt by pouring scorn on him.
Jere said Nkhoma wrote the words knowing fully well that they were false and with intent to injure his reputation and lower his standing in society.
He said in the consequences, he has been put to considerable loss of time and resources explaining to various persons the lies about Nkhoma’s words and factual position about his relationship to the deceased.
“In aggravation of damages, the defendant despite admitting that he uttered and published the said words without factual basis, has refused to render an apology even after the demand costs was dropped by the plaintiff,” Jere said.
He wants the Lusaka High Court to order for any alternative award as deemed appropriate, applicable and costs of and incidental to the proceedings.