24 May 2013

Southern Africa: Former Journalism Lecturer Threatens Justice Minister With Lawsuit

press release

A former journalism lecturer at Zambia's largest public institution of learning, Clayson Hamasaka, has threatened the country's Justice Minister, Wynter Kabimba, with a lawsuit for the alleged "great humiliation and traumatic experience" his family has suffered at the hands of the ruling party.

Mr. Hamasaka is threatening legal action against Mr. Kabimba because he alleges that Mr. Kabimba's comments about his dismissal from Evelyn Hone College in June 2012 were "malicious, scandalous and damaging to his image and reputation."

Before his dismissal from the institution, Mr. Hamasaka not only lectured but also worked as the head of the College's media section and as the manager of Hone FM, the college's popular campus radio station.

According to a story published in The Post (Zambia) newspapers of 23 May 2013, Mr. Kabimba, who is also the ruling party's secretary general, uttered these alleged "malicious, scandalous and damaging" comments about Mr. Hamasaka in response to 2012 Zambia Human Rights Report released by the US government.

The report highlighted various alleged human rights abuses by the Zambian government, among them Mr. Hamasaka's dismissal. The report suggested that Mr. Hamasaka was fired from his position for featuring the leader of Zambia's main opposition party, United Party for National Development (UPND).

In response to the report, Mr. Kabimba said that the report was "fraught with factual errors and inaccuracies." He, therefore, stated that implications that Mr. Hamasaka was dismissed from employment on account of featuring an opposition party leader on a radio programme were false. He noted that Mr. Hamasaka was dismissed after complaints were lodged against him by his workmates for alleged victimisation for those that did not support the UPND, Mr. Hamasaka's party.

However, in a letter addressed to Mr. Kabimba, dated 20 May 2013, and copied to the US Embassy in Zambia, Mr. Hamasaka has refuted these allegations, arguing that he never victimised anyone on the basis of their political views, as the college's management would have disciplined him.

Mr. Hamasaka is quoted as saying that he has given the Justice Minister five (5) working days to apologise for the comments, failure to which he reserves the right to seek legal redress against the Minister, in his personal capacity, for "maligning his name to the whole world," especially that the Minister's comments were widely publicised in one of the country's leading newspapers, The Post (Zambia) newspaper on Saturday 18 May 2013 and Monday, 20 May 2013.

He further stated that despite "several provocations" and his wife's subsequent dismissal from a Government water company on account of his "sins," he has decided to stay out of partisan politics in spit of the psychological and emotional suffering that is further being inflicted on his already troubled family and the alienating from society, international community and, subsequently, would-be-employers because of the Minister's remarks.

Background

Back in June 2012, Mr. Clayson Hamasaka, a lecture at Evelyn Hone College and the college's radio manager was dismissal from his duties together with Mr. Emmanuel Maseko, a presenter at the station, after UPND president Hakainde Hichilema made an appearance on the radio station despite protests from the administration.

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