Taxpayer-funded Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) and Local Government minister Kondwani Nankhunwa say they will appeal the ruling made weeks ago by the High Court demanding the institution to pay damages to former President Joyce Banda for defamation.
Banda took the two entities to court saying they ruined her reputation on May 9, 2015 during Bingu Memorial at Ndata Farm when Nankhumwa accused her thatshe plotted the death of former president Bingu wa Mutharika..
So too MBC, they were sued for airing Nankhumwa’s comments live during the event and in subsequent repeated programming.
The High Court therefore ruled in favour of Banda saying her reputation was injured and that the two defendants are supposed to pay damages which will be calculated by the same court at a date yet to be set.
However, laywer for Nankhumwa and MBC, Chancy Gondwe, says his clients will challenge the ruling at Supreme Court of Appeal seeking a fairer and positive verdict.
“We have instructions from our clients to appeal the decision to the highest court on the land, Supreme Court,” said Gondwe in an interview.
MBC and Nankhumwa denied damaging the reputation of the former leader saying the initial message conveyed did not mention the aggrieved by name.
During the event held at Ndata, Nankhumwa alleged Bingu might have died due to a plot by people who were desperate to rule the country, saying he mentioned a person named JB who plotted the death and argued that JB could be anyone as the two letters are just neutral as any abbreviation.
Banda had described the accusation of being the mastermind of Bingu’s death as a serious blow to her reputation as an individual, posing a “serious danger” to her life.
She had been on a collision course with former political ally President Bingu Wa Mutharika shortly before his death, sparking rumours that she had masterminded his demise to take over the Malawian presidency.
Such accusationns were aired on MBC and later published by a defunct newspaper which was owned by Nankhumwa.
Although the defendants had recanted and suggested settling the issue out of court, claiming they had not directly accused the former president, Banda had pressed ahead with the case.
The 67-year-old Joyce Banda was president from 7 April 2012 to 31 May 2014 when she lost the presidency to Bingu’s younger brother Peter Mutharika.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :