Court Grants Charging of Masebo for Contempt


THE Livingstone High Court has granted an application by lawyers representing Tandabale Marketeers Co-operative Society to commence contempt of court proceedings against Minister of Local Government and Housing, Sylvia Masebo for allegedly willfully disregarding a court order.

The lawyers had applied for leave to issue an order of committal of contempt of court against Ms Masebo for allegedly willfully disregarding an injunction granted by the court on June 12, 2008.

This is in a case in which the Livingstone High Court granted an injunction against the Livingstone City Council, which had ordered the Tandabale marketeers to vacate their premises within 24 hours.

The court granted the injunction on June 12, 2008 restraining anyone from interfering, disrupting or destroying the Tandabale business premises or any property or properties belonging to them.

However, when Ms Masebo visited the market on July 22, 2008, she ignored the court injunction and gave the marketeers a 24-hour ultimatum in which to vacate the market.

She said she was coming in as minister and had nothing to do with the order of interim injunction which was granted to the marketeers by the court.

In their submission, Mak Partners, who are representing the marketeers argued that there was an attempt by Ms Masebo to use the State Proceedings Act as an excuse to disobey court orders at will.

The lawyers stated that should the court allow the excuses under the cover of the State Proceedings Act, the court would be setting a dangerous precedent where public officers under the cover of the Act, would disobey court orders at will.

They urged the court to grant their application to commence contempt of court proceedings against Ms Masebo.

In response, the Solicitor General, Dominic Sichinga, however, maintained that Ms Masebo was a public officer, and her powers were not tied to those of the council and could not be gagged by the injunction and that the council was merely an agent while she, as minister, was the principal.

Mr Sichinga stated that Ms Masebo was acting for the purpose of good order, for the public good and for purposes of following the law and she did not willfully disregard the court order and asked the court to dismiss the application by the marketeers’ lawyers.

In passing ruling in the Livingstone High Court chambers yesterday, Justice Elizabeth Muyovwe said that the proceedings were outside the State Proceedings Act because the action was against the defendant, which was a local authority.

She argued that the submission by the solicitor general’s office that Ms Masebo, as minister, could not be gagged by the injunction, was misconceived and if acceded to, could cause confusion and allow anarchy.

“The proper position is that an order of the court, such as the one made on June 12, 2008 is to be respected by all including public officers. This is why the order covers the defendant and their agents, servants or whosoever,” Justice Muyovwe said.

“As I have stated, an order of the court must be respected by all and the claim by the minister that the injunction does not apply to her is a misconception.

“It appears the minister, on seeing that the defendant failed to move the plaintiffs from the trading area, following the order made by the court, decided to use her ministerial powers to take the very action which the court had restrained the council, its agents, servants or whosoever not to take.

“This is unacceptable and amounts to interfering with court proceedings and shows a willful disregard of the court injunction,” Justice Muyovwe said.

She explained that if the situation like that would be allowed, it would cause injustice and render any injunction null and void as public officers would disregard court injunctions and court orders under the guise of the State Proceedings Act.

“I do not believe that the State Proceedings Act was meant to protect public officers who decide to willfully disobey or disregard court orders. The minister should have allowed the law to take its course. She knew that the matter was in court hence the reason why she should have exercised restraint and caution in the manner in which she involved herself,” she said.

“I grant the application by the plaintiffs and I grant leave to the plaintiffs to apply for committal proceedings against Hon. Sylvia Masebo. Costs to the plaintiffs to be taxed in default of agreement,” Justice Muyovwe said.

In another ruling on an application by the State for non-joinder of a party, Justice Muyovwe denied the application by the State to be joined as a party in the matter.

The solicitor general’s office had applied to allow the State to be involved in the case as the matter had wide public interest and that it would be in the interest of justice for the State to be joined as a party and that if the State is involved, it will not prejudice the parties.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs urged the court to dismiss the application urging the State to declare its interest in the case as the case was a civil one. The lawyers accused the State of wanting to derail justice.

“The State wants to be joined to these proceedings in order to use the State Proceedings Act to its advantage. The action is against Livingstone City Council, which is capable of defending itself and does not need the help of the State. The State cannot get involved in arguments over the injunction as they are not party to the proceedings,” Justice Muyovwe said.

[Times of Zambia]


  1. I bet Justice Muyovwe has a point. No one should be above the law or else the likes of Masebo will always want to do it their style. Marketeers are trying very hard to make ends meet and for some one to just wake up and tell them to pack their goods and find a suitable place is not good. If people have set up market places, it means they have had the people in mind and also judged that their products will be sold as the market(buyers) is readily accessible and so what govt must do to clean up cities is build ultra modern malls that must absorb all the marketeers and may be build sky scraper type of malls if they think land is an issue, put measures of accessibility to such facilties like fre

  2. contd from 1
    like free shuttle buses to and from the nearest bus terminus like we have in south africa. Normally people will set up a market place if they see that the consumers are comfortable and also that transport to and from the market place does not put uncessary pressure on both (the buyer and seller)

  3. Ministers and other top Govt officials must learn from this example being set. This is what low cailber people want to do when they are in power. Taking the law for granted. Everyone must respect the law regardless of their status in society. Besides, the law does treats everyone equally and so Ms Masebo when it comes to law forget your position and respect it!


  5. Can someone please update me where plunderers like Samuel Musonda and Kashiwa Bulaya are. Are they in prison are or are they out in the name of appealing their sentences. Please bloggers i await your updates.

  6. This broad Masebo is not above the law.What the hell does she think she is.Willfully disregarding the law,this is anarchy from a lawmaker.

  7. #6 Kashiwa & Samuel Musonda are enjoying the same freedom we are enjoying despite being condemned by the courts in the name of appeals.

  8. I Will be only happy if the court rule in favour of the marketeers, because masebo think’s she’s the only beach who can convince anyone. and why govrnment want to get involved in this issue.this is between masebo and the concil.masebo is suppose to put the concil in order than disturbing markteers. these people make little profit and to relocate them means starting new life. our courts please can you discipline masebo.

  9. welln done Justice Elizabeth Muyovwe!!!!
    Masebo thinks that she is a “some of us”
    you should even commit her to Jail!
    you are a lady of high calibre!!!

  10. Slow down guys before you jump over board over this contempt of court for Masebo. Are you all forgetting what judgment was passed over Machael Mabenga? The guy is still walking the streets of Lusaka today very free.

  11. firstly, i admire masebo for her zeal and hardwork. but in this case,i agree with most of the commments made,i think hon. masebo went to far by taking the law into her own hands.she is a law maker and we expect her to follow the law to the dot.if
    we allowed such dictatorship as a nation, then we would going backwards. VIVA to Justice Muyovwe. wish we had more of such judges!!!!!

  12. The rule of law should be respected by everyone regardless of status in life. I hope the court will favour the poor marketeers who are trying to make ends meet and even send their children to school so that they also will be like Masebo in future. At the sametime let us not take the law in the our own hands.

  13. 8 Wanzelu. Thanks for the update. Its such things that at times makes me admire the way of doing things by military juntas. Someone steals and uses the same ill gotten wealth to frustrate all efforts aimed at punishing them. Good luck to Sameul Musonda and Kashiwa Bulaya as and when they are still out there.

  14. Great stuff for the voiceless…Mak Partners are making a mark and big plus to their reputation. This is what we need to see in our society. No high flyers above the law.

  15. Justice Elizabeth Muyovwe is a no nonse person. she knows that law has to be respected and no one is above the law. I have seen her reduce a high profile man to nothing in the Lusaka High Court of Zambia.

  16. If Judge Muyovwe has a personal vandeta against Masebo this is the time to rub Chilli in Masebo’s wounds…LOL

  17. Do you think she will go in?never,Masebo will still walk free and head high in zambia for now till another govt comes in.this is just a plastic surgery contempt!she’s a big fish for now! i suppose ba kaili would have the best dinner on her!!

  18. Puttin her in is….er…wishful thinking,considering the strings attached – state’s willingness to defend even when uncalled for. Lets hope for the best.

  19. Well marketeers remain above the law! They disrespect the police and beak by laws and local regulations with impunite.

  20. Marketeers are human. Masebo should have regard for humanity and hard work. Those pipo are not begging but trying hard to
    make ends meet so as to look after their familyies.

    The problem is the likes of Mesobo are enjoying the big salaries
    and allowances from government such that they forget the misery
    of others.

    Advise- Mesobo you were elected to represent people and not to
    fight against them. Government is for people and not the pipo for governemnt.

    Let God have mercy on you

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