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ECL urges Concort to dismiss petition against him

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FORMER President Edgar Lungu has raised questions of law in a case his eligibility to contest elections is being challenged.

He has submitted before the Constitutional Court that he will seek that the same lawsuit be dismissed because it is incompetent because issues raised had previously been determined by the same court.

Mr Lungu, a former Minister of Justice and a lawyer, wants the court to answer questions of law he has raised among them if the fresh petition brought before the Constitutional Court can be heard when the same court previously pronounced itself on the same matter in three other cases.

“Specifically, in the case of Daniel Pule and others vs Attorney General and others (2017/CCZ/004),Bampi Kapalasa and another verses the Attorney General, Legal Resources Foundation Limited and two others v Edgar Chagwa Lungu and the Attorney General selected Judgment no.27 of 2021,” Mr Lungu submits.

He also wants the court to determine whether the petition can be deemed an abuse of the court process, considering that the arguments presented in the petition could reasonably have been raised at an earlier stage within the legal proceedings.

“Thirdly, it is the question of whether this court lacks jurisdiction as it is fuctus officio, having already made a pronouncement on the matter in the cases mentioned above,” the document reads.

Further, he wants an answer as to whether the petition seeking to challenge his eligibility falls outside the parameters outlined in Article 101(4) (a) and (b) of the Constitution of Zambia amendment Act number 2 of 2016.

The article in question delineates a specific process and timeline for challenging the validity of elections and candidacy, thereby raising the question of the court’s jurisdiction to entertain the petition after the prescribed period has lapsed.

“And that by reason of the foregoing, the first respondent [Mr Lungu] will apply for an order to dismiss the petition in its entirety and costs of this application be borne by the petitioner which must be paid before the Petitioner take any may further step. Costs of this application be in the cause.

“I am further advised that the court cannot entertain this matter owing to the irregularities set out in the notice of motion for determination of questions of law arising in this cause….this matter is not competently before court,” Mr Lungu submits.

In this matter, Michelo Chizombe, who is also a National Council of Student Unions leader, petitioned the court to declare Mr Lungu, ineligible to contest future elections.

The petitioner seeks a declaration that Mr Lungu is ineligible to contest a presidential election under the current Constitution as read with the now repealed 1991 Constitution (as amended).

(Mwebantu, Wednesday, 6th December, 2023)

Local Courts

Charity Katanga to appeal against the three year jail term which left her relative’s weeping

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DESPITE her lawyers begging the court not to impose a custodial sentence on former Inspector General of Police Charity Katanga, Lusaka chief resident magistrate Davies Chiwbili said he needed to mete out a punishment that will remind those in positions of authority to be honest.

Magistrate Chibwili, who jailed Ms Katanga for three years, said it was important to impose punishment that will send a clear signal to “those of us in positions of responsibility” to be honest.

The magistrate said this before jailing Ms Katanga whom he found guilty in a case she was accused of buying 10 Higer buses worth K26million, using money deemed to be proceeds.

But before she was sentenced, her lawyer Benjamin Mwelwa, pleaded for leniency because his client served the country and protected lives and properties on duty.

“…Until unfortunately today, she has been found to have transgressed the law she protected for her entire life. All her energy has gone into the bottomless pit. She is a first offender who deserves the maximum leniency of this court.

“She has a tag of a convict today, which is enough punishment of a person of her standing in her society,” he said and

prayed that the court gives Ms Katanga an alternative punishment other than imprisonment.

Magistrate Chibwili said Ms Katanga was a first offender deserving leniency but noted the gravity of the offence and its effect on the Zambia Police.

The convict’s conduct stained the police service because the allegations against her happened when she was a very senior police officer who was expected or seen to be chasing after criminals” but “it is disheartening that she was doing the same unlawful things she appeared to be policing.

The magistrate said the convict put a stain on the police uniform that she wore very proudly and the police service will suffer a lack of trust and confidence because of her actions.

“It is imperative for the court to impose punishment that will send a clear signal to those of us in positions of responsibility to be honest and act appropriate in our offices because once caught, the fall from grace is much harder than for an ordinary citizen,” magistrate Chibwili said.

Ms Katanga was charged with possession of property reasonably suspected of being proceeds of crime.

Allegations were that between January 1, 2017 and June 6, 2022, Ms Katanga, jointly and while acing with others, allegedly bought 10 Higer Buses reasonably suspected of being proceeds of crime, allegations she denied.

Through lead prosector, Mukuma Chipawa, the State called over 10 witnesses to testify against the former Southern Province Commissioner of police.

Evidence presented in court was by a Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) investigations officer was that Ms Katanga’s earnings compared to her expenditure for the years 2017 to 2021 showed an over K15 million excess in terms of expenditure.

The witness also narrated that Katanga’s known income between 2017 and 2021 was over K1.7 million against over K18 million which was paid towards the purchase of buses.

The magistrate found Ms Katanga with a case to answer and asked her to defend herself from the allegaitons.

In defence, Ms Katanga pleaded innocence arguing that she bought the buses from her personal income, monthly salary’s savings and loans.

She also said she retirement money and also borrowed some money which was used to buy the buses.

However, magistrate Chibwili said Ms Katanga’s defence was an afterthought because there were no transfer of funds to Higher from Katanga’s bank account.

The court also found that “none of the funds paid to higher in 2017 2018 and 2019 went through the bank.

The magistrate said Ms Katanga never produced evidence showing that the retirement package she received in 2014 worth K1.1 million was used to buy the buses.

He wondered that If the money that was paid to Higer for the purchase of buses did not come from her earnings as demonstrated in her answers, then where did they come from?

“Where did that money come from especially that it did not come from any of the accounts the accused was linked to,” magistrate Chibwili said.

He said he satisfied that the prosecution had proved its case beyond reasonable doubt and found Katanga guilty and jailed her.

Her relatives cried uncontrollably as the former law enforcer, now a convict, was being led to cell-car enroute to a detention facility.

The rosery clad Ms Katanga, who kept her composure while waving at journalists, waved at journalists as she was led into the car.

Her lawyers said the Judgement was harsh and their client will appeal against it.

(Mwebantu, Tuesday, 20th February, 2024)

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Politics

Civil servants are frustrated says ECL

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FORMER president Edgar Lungu has claimed that civil servants are frustrated because President Hakainde Hichilema is micromanaging government functions from state house.

Speaking when he appeared of Radio Delight of Chingola last night, Mr Lungu said the United Party for National Development (UPND) is struggling motivate the civil service.

Mr Lungu claimed President Hichilema is leading a frustrated government because of his tendency to micromanage everything.

“Let me say one thing and I think I will sum it all, you cannot have everything managed from state house, leave the line ministries to deal with these issues.

“Everything has to go through state house and civil servants are very frustrated, they regret every morning when they wake up, because they think that is not how the civil service is supposed to be run,” he said.

Mr Lungu, who has returned to active politics after a brief spell on the sidelines when he lost power in 2021 has advised President HH to give ministries leverage to work.

“Issues of agriculture, should be dealt with by the ministry of agriculture, you have your minister he reports to you [as president]…what has happened is that everything is being managed from state house,” Mr Lungu said.

(Mwebantu, Monday, 19th February, 2024)

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Politics

‘I still have My UPND card,’ ECL says.

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FORMER republican president Edgar Lungu has joked that he still has his United Party for National Development (UPND) membership card, years after he left the party.

Before joining the Patriotic Front (PF), Mr Lungu was a UPND member decades ago recruited by then UPND vice president Sakwiba Sikota.

In the PF, he went from being an ordinary member to serving as Chawama MP and other ministerial positions before rising to the highest office in the land.

Since losing Power, Mr Lungu has been flirting with the idea of returning to Power and he is among the figureheads of the recently announced United Kwacha Alliance (UKA).

This morning, he attended worship at Praise Christian Centre (PCC) in Lusaka where he revealed that he still has his UPND card.

He said this when introducing Mr Sikota in church .

“… For those who dont know, he introduced me to UPND this man [Sikota] he recruited me and he was the vice president in UPND to Mr Mazoka and when Mr Mazoka died, using imingalato he was dribbled out of the presidency. By the way, I still have my card for UPND, it was number 60, so I joined UPND as number 60,” Mr Lungu said.

He also said Zambian politics are of a nomadic nature, and it is not strange to see people jump ship.

“…The politics in Zambia is of a nomadic nature, people just go where they find fertile soil, good pasture they stay there, they look after their animals after a while they move on.

“If you look at our current government, there is MMD there. There is PF there and a bit of UNIP, so dont worry, thats the name of the game, ” he said.

Mr Lungu was flanked by Harry Kalaba, Richard Musukwa, Jackson Silavwe and Geofry Bwalya Mwamba (GBM).

(Mwebantu, Sunday, 18th February, 2024)

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