Embattled Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) secretary general (SG) Grezelder Jeffrey on Tuesday broke into tears during a court session, pleading for forgiveness from Minister of Youth and Sports Ulemu Msungama who sued her for defamation.
The legal battle resulted from a DPP rally in Area 23 Towship in Lilongwe City South East Constituency in 2017 where Jeffrey alleged that Msungama raped his cousin and had a “case to answer in court”.
She condemned Msungama, who was vying for parliamentary seat on the ticket of former main opposition Malawi Congress Party, as not fit to be legislator.
Through his lawyer Pempho Likongwe, the minister filed the defamation case last year and submitted a video clip of the then governing DPP SG uttering the defamatory words.
During a High Court of Malawi mediation session before Judge William Msiska, Jeffrey’s lawyer Gilbert Khonyongwa asked that his client be given a chance to say something.
Jeffrey rose from her seat and knelt before Msungama, then asked for forgiveness.
“Sindinalankhule bwino, ndinali excited ndi moralo yomwe inali pamalopo… Ndikupempha chonde ndikhululukireni [What I said was wrong. I was excited because of the crowd that was cheering me on. I am begging. Please forgive me],” she said as a static Msungama looked on.
Speaking after the session, Msungama said he is pleased that the case was drawing to a conclusion and hoped that his name will be cleared.
He said: “I am glad I’ll be able to put all this behind me. These type of things can really put a dent on a person’s reputation. So, I urge my fellow politicians to refrain from insult-based politics.”
Jeffrey’s lawyer Khonyongwa said he will now formally discuss with the other party on the way forward.
The judge has since granted the two parties permission to hold an out of court settlement.
If Jeffrey and Msungama legal teams reach an agreement on the damages, the case will be closed.
Disagreements will mean the case being committed to full trial.