United Party for National Development (UPND) president Hakainde Hichilema has challenged the constitutionality of the charge he is facing in the case he has been accused of causing the publication of false information with intent to cause alarm under section 67 of the Penal Code.
In a notice of motion filed yesterday, Mr Hichilema said it would be unfair and discriminatory for the Magistrate Court to continue hearing his case under section 67 when the same law had been referred to the High Court in a case in which Foundation for Democratic Process (FODEP) executive director MacDonald Chipenzi, Daily Nation proprietor Richard Sakala and his production editor Simon Mwanza have been charged under the same law.
Mr Hichilema said that he found it suitable that his case should be referred to the High Court for the determination of serious constitutional issues that had arisen from section 67 of the Penal Code.
He said in the case of Mr Chipenzi, Mr Sakala and Mr Mwanza, the Magistrate Court had referred the matter to the High Court and that it would only be legally proper that his case be taken to the same court because he was charged under the same law that was being challenged in the High Court.
The UPND leader stated that he was charged with the offence under section 67 of the Penal Code Cap 87 of the Laws of Zambia for allegedly criticizing the decision by the Patriotic Front (PF) to send its cadres to Sudan for training.
“That in the MacDonald Chipenzi et al case, the Honourable Magistrate referred the case to the High Court for determination as to the constitutionality of section 67 of the Penal Code under which I am also charged. I verily believe that it will be unfair and discriminatory for me to be arraigned under section 67 of the Penal Code which has been referred to the High Court for determination as to its constitutionality by the Magistrate Court. I therefore believe that it is a suitable matter for the honourable Court to refer this case to the High Court for determination of the serious constitutional issues arising from section 67 of the Penal Code,” Mr Hichilema said.
Mr Hichilema said in the month of May 2012, the Post Newspaper published a story under the headline; PF secures Sudanese scholarships for cadres in which it was reported that the ruling party had signed a memorandum of understanding with Sudans Ruling National Congress Party which would see PF cadres offered scholarships to study at that country’s Africa’s International University.