Trial of Zambian singer accused of defaming president delayed

2015-06-24 14:01
Edgar Lungu. (File: AP)

Edgar Lungu. (File: AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Lusaka - The trial of a Zambian musician charged with conduct likely to breach the peace over his song which accuses President Edgar Lungu of drinking too much, was on Wednesday postponed to July 13.

Chama Fumba was arrested early this month over the song which some government officials allege was defamatory to the head of state because it accused Lungu of being incompetent.

In an interview with AFP on Tuesday, Fumba - whose stage name is Pilato - denied allegations that his song was either defamatory or likely to have disturbed the peace.

"I don't think that [it] is defamatory in any way. I don't think it is causing any breach to our beloved peace," said Fumba. "I don't think it's a controversial song."

But he warned that freedom of speech was under threat in Zambia.

"As it is now, I can assure you that it's under very serious threat," said the musician. "I feel that the powerful who happen to be the politicians who originally were supposed to be our servants have become our masters."

Opposition politicians

"They don't want us to exchange ideas through expression, they don't want us to talk about them."

The song's lyrics tell the story of a character named Lungu who grows up in a slum and becomes president.

The Lungu in the song is described as carrying a suitcase filled with bottles of Jameson Irish whiskey and having no idea how to govern.

President Lungu, 58, who took office in January, is a former defence minister.

He suffers from recurring achalasia, a condition caused by narrowing of the oesophagus, and has been regularly hospitalised for treatment.

His election victory followed the death of predecessor Michael Sata.

Fumba's trial failed to commence on Wednesday due to the non-availability of state witnesses.

If convicted, Fumba, 31, faces a maximum sentence of six months in prison or a fine.

The case has attracted the interest of opposition politicians, civil society organisations as well as US and German diplomats in Zambia, some of whom were in court on Wednesday.

Read more on:    edgar lungu  |  zambia  |  southern africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.