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Callista Mutharika sues Grazeldar Jeffrey

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Callista Mutharika, widow to former president the late Bingu wa Mutharika, has sued Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) secretary general Grazeldar Jeffrey over words she uttered at a rally on Saturday.

Jeffrey claimed that Callista killed her husband.

In court summons that The Daily Times has seen, the former first lady, who is being represented by lawyer Ambokire Salimu, is demanding K500 million from defendants Jeffrey and Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) for damages.

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“The claimant claims from the defendant an amount of K500 ,000, 000 from the defendants being damages on the footing of aggravated damages from the slander in respect of the defendant’s utterances at a Democratic Progressive Party’s rally on 2 June 2018 at Thyolo District..,” reads part of the summons.

The claimant pleads that, as a result of the defendants’ defamation, her character has been vilified and continues to suffer contempt and odium as an alleged killer of her husband.

Callista claims the words by Jeffrey Munthu uja anapha Bingu ndi mai uja Callista, Callista anapha malemu Bingu chifukwa chosowa khalidwe [The person who killed Bingu is Callista, Callista killed Bingu due to her ‘evil’ behaviour]— as quoted in the court documents—have no justification.

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“The words were uttered at the grandest of stages: a rally patronised by sitting president who is brother to the claimant’s late husband…” the documents further read.

According to the court documents MBC Tv and Radio 1 come in as second defendants as even after noting that the first defendant, Jeffrey, had started the insults, the public broadcaster did not take steps to stop the live broadcast.

The defendants have since been asked to file and serve a defence within 28 days or a default judgement will be entered.

Jeffrey could not be reached for her reaction as she was purportedly attending DPP rallies in Phalombe and Chiradzulu districts.

MBC Director General, Aubrey Sumbuleta, said he was not aware of the summons when contacted yesterday.

Callista is one of the people spearheading a movement within DPP that wants Vice-President Saulos Chilima to run for DPP presidency in the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections.

The former first lady came to the spotlight after she endorsed Chilima as the right candidate for DPP if it is to win next year’s elections, saying the incumbent [President Peter Mutharika] is old.

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