LUMEZI parliamentarian Munir Zulu will continue to be in detention following a magistrate’s decision to revoke his police bond for absconding court.
His surety, Milenge Member of Parliament Gystave Chonde, has also been ordered to pay K100, 000 for his failure to ensure that the accused, Mr Zulu, appears in court when needed.
This is in a case Mr Zulu is charged with libel after he accused Minister of Finance Situmbeko Musokotwane and his Infrastructure and Urban Development counter Charles Milupi recieved bribes.
But on June 27 when the case was called, Mr Zulu was not in court forcing Lusaka chief resident magistrate Davies Chibwili to issue a bench warrant against the outspoken legislator.
This morning, Mr Zulu, who looked tensedup was brought before magistrate Chibwili for return of bench warrant.
His lawyer Jonas Zimba explained that the day his client missed court on June 27, the accused was within the court grounds outside court six.
Mr Zimba said by the time the accused appeared before his (magistrate Chibwili) court, the bench warrant had already been issued against his client.
“This court will recall that the bench warrant in issued was issued on June 27, 2023.On the same date, we had appeared before this court after we have retreated from court six where we had gone to attend to a matter involving the case of the People verses Given Lubinda,” Mr Zimba said before asking that his client be allowed to also explain.
In his explanation, Mr Zulu said on the material day, he was outside courtroom six waiting for his lawyers who were attending to another case.
“Unfortunately, we were late(to come to this court). Bench warrant had already been issued. The lawyers had not given me instructions that i should appear. I apologize your honour. I plead that you may give me a benefit of doubt,” he said.
Mr Zimba also apologized and asked that the court should discharge (cancel) the bench warrant issued against his client.
“May this court exercise its discretion in favour of discharging the said beach warrant and grant the accused person a benefit of doubt. That is our humble prayer,” he said.
But a state prosecutor argued that one of the lawyers should have gone to court to represent their client for the case which was coming up for mention.
The prosecution also noted that not even Mr Zulu’s sureties were before court that day to explain where the accused was.
“The absence of the whole defence team is a clear decision to stay away,” the prospector said.
The court also ordered Mr Chonde to explain why his colleague had missed the court session on June 27.
Mr Chonde, who was at pains to explain, said he was on parliamentary duties during the period and it was difficult for him to coordinate his presence.
In his ruling, magistrate Chibwili, who expressed disappointed with Mr Zulu’s conduct considering that it was not the first time he missed court, found the lawmaker guilty of contempt of court.
In mitigation, the lawyer pleaded with the court to be lenient and impose a fine on the accused who was remorseful for his actions.
“We plead that the court considers imposition of a fine and the accused promises not to repeat the offending conduct through the subsistence of these proceedings or any other proceedings. One again, the accused is sorry,” Mr Zimba said
Magistrate Chibwili fined Mr Zulu K200, or one month imprisonment if he fails to pay the fine and further revoked his police bond and ordered that he continues to be detained.
The court also ordered Mr Chonde to forfeit the K100, 000 he signed for as a surety,failure to which bailiffs will pounce on him.
Zimba immediately applied for bail pending trial but the court said he would only make a ruling on the bail application next Monday.
The distressed looking Mr Zulu was later led to the holding cell as his wife looked on. *10*
(Mwebantu, Friday, 7th July, 2023)
President Hichilema to continue living at Community House, as Concourt dismisses petition against his stay at the private house
THE Constitutional Court has dismissed for lack of a merit Patriots for Economic Progress president Sean Tembo’s petition challenging President Hakainde Hichilema’s continued stay at his private house instead of shifting to State House.
This means that the President will continue staying at his private Community House in New Ksama.
Passing judgment, Constitutional Court deputy judge president Arnold Shilimi said the court found Mr Tembo’s petition to have lacked merit because the constitution does not compel the President to move to Nkwazi House.
Further, the judge said the court found that Mr Tembo’s plea for the court to declare an order compelling the President to shift to State House is not tenable considering that no law that obliges the Head of State to reside at State House.
“We find that in the absence of any Constitutional provision or any other law that compels the President to reside at State House,and in light of the Respondent’s[Attorney General] submission on the dilapidated state of Nkwazi House requiring high cost of renovations.
“The alleged constitutional breaches relating to the President’s alleged refusal to shift to State House lacks merit and is misconceived,” Judge Shilima said on behalf of other judges who heard the case.
“We find that the alleged breach relating to the right to life is improperly before this court for want of jurisdiction over part iii of the constitution,” he added.
The court consequently dismissed the petition for lack of merit.
In this matter, Mr Tembo petitioned the Constitutional Court over President Hichilema’s refusal to relocate to State House since he was elected in August, 2021.
The politician had submitted that the President was spending huge sums of money through his trips from Community House to State House on a daily basis and putting at risk the safety of many Zambians on the route he is using to access his house.
He further argued that the huge sums of money which was being used on a daily basis, about K126 million per year, could be channeled to other areas of need such as procurement of drugs in hospitals and books for readers in schools.
However, in reply, the State, through Attorney General Mulilo Kabesha, argued that the petition lacked merit because Mr Tembo did not cite the particular article or law which mandates the president actually reside at State House.
He also argued that accommodation of the past Presidents at State House was only a matter of practice or custom and not law.
(Mwebantu, Saturday, 9th December, 2023)
Masturbation comment invites Sean Tembo to court
PATRIOTS for Economic Progress president Sean Tembo has pleaded not guilty to using insulting language when he compared the intervention to sale cheaper ZNS mealie meal in the wake of escalating prices of the commodity prices to masturbation.
The outspoken businessman has been charged with use of insulting language which he allegedly uttered on October 17 this year, the eve of National Day of Prayer, Fasting, Repentance and Reconciliation.
Allegations are that on the material day, the accused said “Bally is selling a few bags of ZNS mealie meal using Shoprite, hoping to create a perception of low price is equal to masturbation”.
The sentiments are alleged to likely provoke Abel Mashowo, who reported the case, to break the law or commit any offence against Tembo.
When the case was called today, a magistrate readout the charged and asked the accused whether he understood it.
In response, Mr Tembo responded in the affirmative and pleaded not guilty to the charge.
The court adjourned the case was adjourned to next month for commencement of trial.
(Mwebantu, Friday, 8th December, 2023)
DPP wants more punishment for CK
THE State, through the Director of Public Prosecutions, Gilbert Phiri, has filed a notice to appeal against the five months sentence imposed of Chishimba Kambwili after he was found guilty of promoting hate speech by uttering tribal remarks.
On Thursday, Mr Kambwili, a Patriotic Front member of the central committee, was sentenced to five months imprisonment with hard labour.
This was after the Kasama Magistrate’s Court found him guilty of the offence of expressing or showing hatred, ridicule, or contempt for persons because of tribe or place of origin.
After being hailed, the politician appealed against the verdict and was later released on bail pending hearing of his appeal against the sentence.
But the DPP has filed a cross appeal seeking to challenge the five months jail term imposed on the outspoken former Roan MP.
Mr Phiri feels the sentence was too lenient and that when his application is being heard, he wants to be present in court..
“I, the above named appellant(DPP) , hereby give notice that I desire to appeal to the High Court against the sentence of the accused person.
I desire to be present when the court considers the appeal,” the notice of appeal, which has been circulated online, reads in part.
(Mwebantu, Thursday, 7th December, 2023)