By Mandy Pondani:
Mzuzu-based rights activist, Charles Kajoloweka, has filed a lawsuit against business magnate Leston Mulli for alleged defamation and violation of the right to dignity, among other grounds.
The lawsuit is a counter claim to Mulli’s initial application for an interlocutory injunction restraining Kajoloweka and his organisation, Youth and Society (Yas), from commenting on the case his two companies have against the government of Malawi in the High Court.
In recent months, a verbal war has ensued between the two following revelations that Mulli, through his two companies Sunrise Pharmaceuticals and Chombe Foods are demanding an additional payment of K8 billion in interests relating to Civil Cause 474 of 2012 between them and the Attorney General which Kajoloweka has been challenging.
The activist released a public statement and also took to his Facebook page where he described the claim as “another organised malfeasance to defraud the government”.
Irked by the sentiments, it is alleged that Mulli phoned Kajoloweka to threaten him on his actions.
According to court documents we have seen, Kajoloweka, through his lawyer Wesley Mwafulirwa, has said Mulli’s conduct infringed on the activist’s right to dignity which violates Section 19 of the Constitution of Malawi and was meant to stop him from exercising his freedom of expression.
“Upon hearing of the alleged press release and the Facebook posts, the first Claimant herein made a phone call to the first defendant and verbally harassed him… The first defendant felt intimidated, harassed, fearful, and humiliated and his personal dignity was violated,” reads part of the court document.
Mwafulirwa also states that, on or about August 25 2018, Mulli gave a media interview to one of the country’s online publications in which he described Kajoloweka as a “mere pig”, a statement they say put the latter in negative light by insinuating that he is a crook or misguided person.
Apart from damages of defamation and violation of dignity, Mwafulirwa has asked the court to grant a permanent injunction against Mulli from issuing threats to Kajoloweka.
Mulli’s lawyer, Tamando Chokhotho, said he is yet to be served with the summons.
“Well, I have not seen the counter-claims yet,” Tchokhotho said.
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