It is now official. Opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) president Atupele Muluzi has formally filed a lawsuit against Home Affairs and Internal Security Minister Uladi Mussa following his failure to apologise and retract “toddler” remarks made against Atupele.
Atupele’s lawyer, Jai Banda, filed the lawsuit on Thursday, claiming damages for defamation, exemplary damages, aggravated damages and costs of the court action.
The court summons The Nation saw at the High Court in Blantyre commands Mussa to, within 14 days after the service of the writ, to either satisfy the claim or return to the court the accompanying acknowledgement of service stating whether he would contest.
According to the statement of claim, Atupele said the remarks that he falsified his true date of birth and not fit as the country’s next president, as aired on Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS), were defamatory.
Mussa, who has not yet been served, is on record to have said that there was nothing to retract or apologise for because he did not lie that Atupele was underage for presidential contest.
Mussa, who has been leading the ruling People’s Party (PP) onslaught on opposition leaders during rallies attended by President Joyce Banda, said the UDF constitution was amended to accommodate Atupele because he was under 35 and stood disqualified to contest at the party’s convention.