HH contempt case adjourned

THE case in which acting Chief Justice Lombe Chibesakunda has applied for contempt of court proceedings against United Party for National Development (UPND) president Hakainde Hichilema was yesterday adjourned to December 1 2014 because her lawyers had applied to settle the matter out of court.

And Kitwe High Court Judge-in-Charge Catherine Makungu has directed Chilupe and Permanent Chambers to withdraw from representing the acting Chief Justice because of conflict of interest.

This is in the case in which the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) has sued the Attorney-General and Ms Justice Chibesakunda over her re-appointment as Supreme Court judge.

The UPND leader was quoted in the Daily Nation newspaper of June 12 this year under the headline “PF ministers courting UPND” in which he allegedly made direct reference to Ms Justice Chibesakunda’s position and tenure of office as acting Chief Justice.

When the matter came up for hearing yesterday, Mr Charles Chanda from Chilupe representing the Chief Justice, said he was asking for an adjournment so that they could settle the matter out of court.

But in reply, lawyers representing the UPND leader said they had no problem with settling the matter out of court, but had a serious concern regarding the position of Richard Mandona from Permanent Chambers who finds himself in conflict of being a potential witness as a matter was known from inception.

In response, Judge Makungu directed  Chilupe and Permanent Chambers to withdraw from representing the acting Chief Justice because of their conflict of interest.

“I have considered application for the issue of conflict and breach of the legal practitioners’ rules. I will firstly tackle the issue of the breach of legal practice. In my view, Chilupe and Permanent Chambers have infringed rules 33 and 34 of SI number 51 of the 2002.’’

She, however, said the defect was not fatal for the application for contempt because it was curable by the firm withdrawing from representing the 2nd defendant and allowing other 16 law firms representing the 2nd defendant to take over the prosecution of the application.

“I therefore direct Chilupe and Permanent Chambers to file necessary application of withdrawal from the record in accordance with laid down procedure within seven days from the date thereof failure to which this application will remain defective and I will order LAZ to take disciplinary action against the firm,’’ said Judge Makungu

And speaking outside court, Mr Hichilema said UPND would not participate in celebrating the 50 years of independence  because there was nothing to celebrate about, except misery.

Mr Hichilema said it did not make sense for UPND to celebrate the golden jubilee when there was misery among the majority of Zambians because of the high levels of poverty and hunger arising from unemployment and high cost of living in Zambia.

“PF is the most destructive government I have seen in Zambia. They talk about unity and peace, but what they do is very destructive.  Their destruction is both to the economy and Zambians at large. Even if they are talking about celebrating the 50 years of independence, there is nothing to celebrate about.

“So as UPND, we will not participate in the 50 years of independence because there is nothing to celebrate. What are we going to be celebrating? misery?’’, asked Mr Hichilema.