Chief commissioner of Malawi Prison Service (MPS) Kennedy Nkhoma has sued Deputy Speaker of Parliament Esther Mcheka Chilenje for defamation.
Nkhoma, who separated from Mcheka Chilenje after several years of marriage, alleges in the law suit that she defamed him through a phone text message that talked about his health status.
But Mcheka Chilenje, in her defence filed at the High Court in Blantyre, denies the accusation and expresses surprise that Nkhoma addressed her as Esther Mcheka Chilenje and not Esther Mcheka Chilenje Nkhoma.
The Deputy Speaker of Parliament said she will take advantage of this court action to raise marriage issues, claiming Nkhoma ran away from their matrimonial home.
She claimed she was duly married to him, but that he had been avoiding her when attempts were made to sort out their marriage differences.
But the chief commissioner of prisons claims in his affidavit that without legal basis, the defendant published or caused to be published defamatory statements through text messages and other means.
Nkhoma said Mcheka Chilenje knew and intended that her words in their natural meaning or the gist should be spread through the said text messages.
Reads the claim statement: “The text message would in the minds of reasonable men of society produce the meaning that the plaintiff is of unfaithful character…In consequence, the plaintiff’s personal reputation, character and trust has been seriously injured and he has suffered considerable distress and anxiety.”
But Mcheka Chilenje in her defence filed on October 21 argues that Nkhoma did not provide any information as to who published the message, where [it was published], the mode of the publication and the audience.
She further argues he did not also state who read the information and how the publication injured him.
Mcheka Chilenje argues she is not aware there is such kind of text message and that such words were published.
The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, through her lawyer, argues that there has to be basis in law for somebody to claim that his personal character and reputation has been injured; otherwise, she says, the claim is speculative and without substance.
She prays that the action be dismissed with costs.
Reads her statement: “The defendant further states that the plaintiff is duly married to the defendant since 14th April 2007, but the plaintiff ran away from [their] matrimonial home.
“The defendant is surprised that the plaintiff is bringing that kind of action when there are marriage issues to be sorted out.
“The defendant is surprised that the plaintiff has used the name of the defendant as Esther Mcheka Chilenje while correct name of the defendant is Esther Mcheka Chilenje Nkhoma as she is duly married to the plaintiff.”
Esther and Kennedy had a glamorous high-profile wedding on April 14 2007 in Blantyre.
The wedding was officiated at St Columba CCAP and thereafter a reception at Comesa Hall in Blantyre which was attended by former president the late Bingu wa Mutharika, and another in the Shire Valley.