Public order case fails

The Lusaka High Court has cautioned government legal counsels against dictating terms of their availability for court proceedings to commence.

High Court Judge Evans Hamaundu said it was not for the Attorney General to decide when he would be available for Court proceedings but for the court to decide when the case would be held.

This was in the case where the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) has sued the Attorney General Mumba Malila who is chief government legal adviser over the alleged illegalities in the Public Order Act but the case failed to take off because the Attorney General’s office was not ready.

Attorney General Mumba Malila’s office represented by SM Wanjelani requested for an adjournment because they had not finished preparing documentation for the case.

Ms Wanjelani justified the delay for the case to proceed because the Attorney General received documents on the matter late and was in the process of preparing to attend court.

“Government seeks the adjournment beyond Thursday in order to conclude on the bundle of documents from our client,” she said.

But LAZ legal counsels Vincent Malambo and Eric Silwamba had problems with the application for an adjournment which they said should have been done earlier than the day of hearing.

But Judge Hamaundu however ruled in favour of the adjournment and warned that further applications would not be granted, and has since moved the matter to 19, 20 and 21 March 2013 from 09 00hrs as dates for the case hearing.

Judge Hamaundu questioned the absence of the Attorney General who was not in court yesterday, and inquired whether the dates set for the adjournment would be convenient for him to attend court.

But Ms Wanjelani could not confirm Mr. Malila’s availability to which the Judge maintained that the matter would still proceed even in his absence.

LAZ has sued the Attorney General over some legal issues which have been raised in the Public order Act which were described as unconstitutional.

Several Civil Society movements who included Non-Governmental Organisation Coordinating Council (NGOCC) board chairperson Beatrice Grillo, Emilie Sikazwe from Women for Church (WfC) and the Christian Council of Zambia secretary general Rev Sussane Matale were among those who attend court.