Find new lawyers, court advises HH

THE Kitwe High Court has rejected an application by United Party for National Development (UPND) president Hakainde Hichilema to set aside a bench warrant against the opposition leaders because of conflict of interest among his lawyers.

Kitwe High Court Judge in-charge Catherine Mukungu in her ruling said she had noticed that lawyers representing Mr Hichilema, Shamwana & Company and their co-advocates were lead lawyers in the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) case which has dragged acting Chief Justice Lombe Chibesakunda to court for her continued stay in the office of the Chief Justice even after she had been rejected by the Parliamentary Select Committee.

Judge Mukungu has consequently asked Mr Hichilema to appoint a new lawyer who would have to make a new and appropriate application to have the bench warrant against the UPND leader heard.

Judge Mukungu noted that it was irregular and against the rules that lawyers representing the Law Association of Zambia could be the same counsel representing Mr Hichilema.

Mr Hichilema has been cited for contempt for commenting on the continued stay of Justice Lombe Chibesakunda in the office of the Chief Justice when she had been disqualified by the constitution because she had passed her retirement age.

Mr Hichilema has complained that he never received documentation on the matter and that this was published in the classified section of the media which neither he nor his lawyers saw.

And the Lusaka High Court has dismissed with costs an appeal application for an order to freeze the Zambezi West parliamentary by-election scheduled for September 11, 2014.

The appeal application was filed by the losing Patriotic Front candidate Christabel Ngimbu.

Justice Judy Mulongoti dismissed the application because there was no likelihood that the appeal would succeed in the Supreme Court.

She also said legally, the appeal did not operate as a stay as Ms Ngimbu contended. An affidavit in opposition of Ms Ngimbu which was sworn to by Gilbert Phiri deposed that there was no reference as to why the Zambezi West parliamentary by-election should be stayed and that even though the petitioner had appealed, such would not have the effect of staying the election.

In this case, Mrs Ngimbu wanted the court to stay the Zambezi West by-election pending an appeal to the Supreme Court against the High Court refusal to render a report to the effect that UPND’S Charles Kakoma committed corrupt and illegal practices during the September 2011 elections. Mrs Ngimbu also wanted Justice Mulongoti to stop Mr Kakoma from re-contesting the by-election for the next five years because the Supreme Court Judgment of October 13, 2013 allegedly found him guilty of committing the illegal and corrupt acts.

But Mrs Mulongoti refused to grant the application because her court did not find Mr Kakoma guilty. She said she would prepare a report based on the findings of her court and not what the Supreme court found.