Hichilema walks to freedom

UNITED Party for National Development (UPND) president Hakainde Hichilema has been set free of contempt of court charges following a consent order between the opposition leader and lawyers of Acting Chief Justice Lombe Chibesakunda.

This is in the case in which Justice Chibesakunda had applied to commit the UPND leader to prison for alleged contempt of court following his comments in the Daily Nation newspaper of June 12, 2014.

Kitwe High Court Judge- in- Charge Catherine Makungu has granted a consent order in the case in which Mr. Hichilema  was sued for  contempt of court.

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.

The opposition UPND leader was cited as an alleged contemnor 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.

In the course of the hearing, parties however agreed to settle the matter out of court.

When the matter came up on October 7, 2014, the matter was adjourned to December 1st, this year because the Acting Chief Justice lawyers had applied to settle the matter out of court.

And when the matter came up on December 1, 2014 Judge Makungu ordered that the parties involved should prepare a consent order between now and December 5, this year failure to which she would make a judgement on the matter on December 9, this year.

The order granted by Judge Makungu noted that the parties agreed that Mr Hichilema regretted any distress or embarrassment that the article published might have caused to the court and to the office of the Chief Justice.

Mr Hichilema also disclaimed any imputation of contempt, embarrassment and distress to the court and the office of the Chief Justice arising from the article complained of and assured to undertake not to bring the court and the office of the Chief Justice into ridicule, contempt or embarrassment by any further comments.

On the other hand, Judge Chibesakunda withdrew the committal proceedings issued against Mr Hichilema and that no party shall have any claim for damages against any other party arising from the withdrawal of committal proceedings or as a consequence of the execution of the consent order.

Each party agreed to bear its own costs.