Court summons M’membe over contempt charges

Post Newspaper owner Fred M’membe has been summoned by the Lusaka Magistrate Court to answer contempt charges preferred against him by former republican president Rupiah Banda.

The summons were yesterday served to both M’membe in his personal capacity and The Post Newspaper as an institution to appear before the Lusaka Magistrate on May 8, 2014.

Former President Banda on Monday filed 19 criminal contempt charges against M’membe who has been accused of slandering and convicting the former president through his editorials designed to influence the proceedings and outcome of the court process.

“You are hereby commanded in the name of the President to appear in person, before this court at 08:30 hours on the 8th day of May, 2014 and on every adjournment of the court until the case is disposed off,” reads part of the summons.

In the 19 grounds on which Mr M’membe and the Post Newspaper are facing contempt charges, President Banda has complained that the duo jointly and while acting together did write contemptuous editorials while a judicial proceeding involving the former head of state was pending.

In the first count, Mr M’membe and the Post Newspaper are said to have caused the publication of an editorial comment entitled ‘What is Rupiah afraid “of” whose contents were prejudicial or capable of prejudicing President Banda who was an accused in the proceedings.

President Banda complained that the publication was calculated to lower the authority of the court before whom the former Head of State court proceedings were taking place. And in the last two counts, Mr M’membe and the Post Newspaper are said to have committed contempt after jointly and whilst acting together caused the publication of editorials entitled ‘What type of leaders do Zambians want?’ and ‘Character’ which were prejudicial to the former president’s court proceedings.