World Bulletin/News Desk
Zambian opposition leader Nevers Sekwila Mumba has been questioned by police for calling President Michael Sata "a liar," an assertion which, he insisted, was not defamatory but rather a simple statement of fact.
"Everything attributed to me is true. I called President Michael Sata a liar because that is what he is – a liar," a defiant Mumba told Anadolu Agency on Monday, shortly after being questioned by prosecutors.
Sata, he said, along with his Patriotic Front (PF)-led government, had failed to meet his numerous promises to the people of Zambia.
"It's now been two years and none of those promises President Sata made has come through," he said.
During a live interview on local radio, Mumba attacked President Sata, accusing him of cheating his way into the presidency.
"There is nothing defamatory of the president in what I read during that radio interview," Mumba, president of the opposition Movement for Multiparty Democracy, told AA.
"I'm a [Christian] pastor; I don't even remember when I last insulted anyone. But I will show up whenever there is evil happening in this country to speak out," he said.
"I know it's not right for this president to continue lying to the people of Zambia," Mumba added.
"Since Dr. Mumba has accepted having issued the statement which he denies being defamatory of the chairperson, the prosecutor adjourned the matter to a later date to enable them [prosecutors] to obtain further instructions from their superiors on how to proceed with the matter," police spokesman Ray Hamoonga said in a statement obtained by AA.
Defamation of the president carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison for those found guilty of the offence.
Mumba, in an interview with AA after the matter was adjourned to an as-yet-undecided date, accused the police of serving the ruling party to oppress and silence the country's political opposition.
He described his pending arrest as an act of "harassment" aimed at silencing dissent.
"I am ready to defend what I said and am going to defend it in court since they have summoned me here for questioning," Mumba said.
He added that it was his duty as an opposition leader to remind the president and his government of their obligation to the public and – if necessary – hold them accountable.
"Are we not supposed to question this administration?" he asked.
Mumba went on to vow that that, for as long as the PF-led government failed to fulfill its 2011 campaign promises, he would continue criticizing it.
"There are ploys to assassinate me," he added. "President Sata left instructions to have [me] arrested before leaving for New York, but I want to make it clear to this government that we will not stop speaking for Zambians."
Last Mod: 23 Eylül 2013, 21:55