A 27-year-old teacher of Luapula Province has been handed a two-year jail term by the Lusaka Magistrate’s Court for defaming the President using his Facebook account.
Enockson Banda, who has since lost his job, last week pleaded guilty to writing defamatory words against President Edgar Lungu, on which he faced two counts, and another count of being in possession of pornographic material.
In his mitigation, the suspect, through his lawyer, pleaded for leniency and pledged to the court that he would become an ambassador against insults on the President and other people on social media.
Banda’s lawyer said the suspect was remorseful and posted the defamatory words because of frustration and economic hardships.
“He was a frustrated youth, more so that he graduated in 2015 but had not been employed while some of his colleagues who completed in 2017 had been employed,” the lawyer pleaded but noted that this did not justify his actions.
However, Lusaka magistrate Sylvia Munyinya sentenced him to two years with hard labour in the first and second counts to run concurrently and fined him K4,500 fine for possessing pornographic material or in default serve a four-month jail term.
In July last year, Banda was arrested and charged with defamation of the President and possession of obscene material tending to corrupt morals.
In counts one and two, it is alleged that between April 1 and June 30, 2018, Banda, with intent to bring the name of the President into ridicule, published defamatory statements against the Head of State.
In the third count, it is alleged that on the same dates, Banda had in his possession obscene materials tending to corrupt morals.
Facts were that Chanoda Ngwira, a concerned citizen, opened his Facebook account and came across the ZNBC Top Stories Online page where he saw two pictures of the President and one of them had its face covered with faecal matter.
Ngwira also saw more defamatory messages written by Banda directed at President Lungu.
He reported that matter to police where investigations led to Banda’s arrest and his phone was confiscated.
The Zambia Information and Communications Authority (ZICTA) examined Banda’s phone where several obscene materials tending to corrupt morals were found.