Police officer sues Post, columnist Djokotoe for defamation

A senior police officer has sued the Post Newspaper and its columnist Edem Djokotoe for libel for causing the publication of a story accusing him of having unlawfully effected an arrest on four sports journalists after getting instructions from the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ).

Sylvester Shipolo, a police officer attached to FAZ in-charge of Zambia National Team security has dragged the Post Newspaper and Mr Djokotoe for causing the publication of a story entitled ‘‘Of bans, blacklist & bola’’ in which it was alleged he arrested Kalumiana Kalumiana, Francis Alusheke, Darius Kapembwa and Sydney Mungala and charged them with espionage and criminal trespass.

Mr Shipolo in his statement of claim has submitted that while it was true that Kalumiana, Alusheke, Kapembwa and Mungala were arrested after sneaking into Levy Mwanawasa Stadium to illegally cover the training session of the Zambia national team ahead of the  training match against Division One North Nkwazi Football Club, it was incorrect to impute that the quartet were charged with espionage.

He said the four journalists were arrested for sneaking into Levy Mwanawasa Stadium when the training session for the Zambia National team was declared unauthorized area for the general public and the journalists.

Mr Shipolo argued that article injured him when it falsely claimed that in arresting the four journalists, he had informed the reporters that there were instructions from football house.

He said it was incorrect for the Post Newspaper and Mr Djokotoe to suggest that after arresting the journalist he tried to arrange transport to take the suspects to Ndola Central when he knew that the journalists had not committed any offence.

He explained in his statement of claim that it was libelous for the Post Newspaper and Mr Djokotoe to impute that he was allegedly implementing the bans and blacklist policy of FAZ when he had nothing to do with the said policy.

Mr Shipolo said the article complained about suggested that the senior police officer along with his officers who effected the arrest of the four journalists were a bunch of unprofessional individuals who were fond of arresting people anyhow on instructions from other people.

“I wrote to the Post and Mr Djokotoe to re-write the article so that they could have their facts right by confirming with me and other reliable stakeholders over the arrest of the journalists but unfortunately, they did not confirm and correct the impression and went on to publish another article to justify the earlier false story. My letter of complaint to the Post and Mr Djokotoe as presented in the article entitled ‘Of bans, blacklist & bola, Shipolo’s letter is not a correct letter both in form and content in that some words have deliberately been omitted and replaced ,” Mr Shipolo said.

Mr Shipolo said the said article had lowered his reputation in the estimation of the right thinking members of society and that he had been exposed to hatred as the media would hate him for allegedly superintending over the arrest of the journalists.

He said he had been exposed to hate, ridicule and contempt by the article and that he was likely to suffer loss of promotion in his profession as a police officer as he would be deemed unprofessional.

He said the article was likely to put the name of the Zambia Police Service into disrepute and embarrassment for having an officer who was unprofessional in conducting the alleged unlawful arrest of journalists.

Mr Shipolo is demanding damages from the Post and Mr Djokotoe for lack of remorse and failure to retract of the false article and deliberately.