Football Association of Malawi (FAM) and its vice-president James Mwenda have appealed a High Court ruling that awarded former Flames’ coach Ernest Mtawali damages for defamation.
Lawyers representing FAM filed the appeal two weeks ago.
High Court Judge Joseph Chigona in November last year ruled in favour of Mtawali after he claimed general and special damages over broadcast and published articles, in which Mwenda, as FAM technical sub-committee chairperson, reportedly alleged that he was fired due to “lack of planning and managerial skills and, to some extent, discipline”.
However, in its grounds of appeal, FAM argues that the High Court judge erred in law; hence, the need for the Supreme Court to reverse the verdict and order that costs at the Supreme Court and the High Court should go in favour of the appellants (FAM and Mwenda).
“The judge in the court below [High Court] erred in law and in fact to disallow the defences of consent, qualified privilege and justification as pleaded by the appellant in its defence,” the appellants state in their grounds for appeal.
“The decision of the judge in the [High Court] was against the total weight and logic of the evidence received at trial concerning the words complained of in the respondent’s statement of claim.”
Mtawali’s lawyer Zwelithini Chipembere yesterday said they were in the process of assessing the damages to determine how much was supposed to be paid to his client when FAM and Mwenda came up with the appeal.
“The latest development means we will make the assessment once the Supreme Court decides that the High Court’s ruling still stands,” he said.
The appellants’ lawyer Patrick Mpaka could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Mtawali’s one-year contract expired in July 2016 and FAM said they would not extend his contract following poor results. Mtawali registered four wins, a draw and three losses.n