Rainbow Party President Wynter Kabimba and the Post Newspapers have asked the Lusaka Magistrate Court to dismiss the matter in which former President Rupiah Banda has sued them for liable and Contempt of court arguing that the offence amounts to duplicity.
When the matter came up this morning for plea, Lusaka Magistrate Kenneth Mulife adjourned the matter to the 23rd of March for ruling on the two applications that have been made by the Mr. Kabimba, the Post Newspapers and its Editor In Chief Fred M’membe.
In their first application to raise preliminary issues on the indictment of their clients, one of the defence lawyers Nchima Nchito from Nchito and Nchito submitted that this is because the alleged two counts appearing on the charge sheet arise from one act of publication in a newspaper.
In the second application another defence lawyer Eddy Mwitwa asked the court Wynter Mmembeto refer the matter to the high court for determination of the constitutionality of the contempt Mr. Kabimba, the Post Newspapers and M’membe allegedly committed.
Mr. Mwitwa from Mwenye & Mwitwa-Advocates has told the court that this is because what is being alleged the trio committed offends their fundamental rights of freedom of expression.
But in response the complainant’s lawyers from Makebi Zulu Advocates, Keith Mweemba Advocates and PNP advocates have asked the court to dismiss all two applications as they are frivolous and vexatious.
Mr. Banda’s lawyers have argued that duplicity in the matter does not arise because offenses appearing on the charge sheet are two different counts of contempt and libel.
They have also contended that by asking the subordinate court to refer the matter to the High Court for determination of the constitutionality of what is being alleged, lawyers of the accused are in fact saying that Contempt of Court is unconstitutional.
The former president lawyers have further argued that if this was the case, the country’s Judiciary should then be stripped out from being among the three arms of government.
In response defence lawyers however maintained their ground by stating that there is no way that their clients can be charged two offenses from one act.
They have also maintained that they have met the threshold in their submission to indicate the seriousness of their contention that the constitutionality of what is being alleged their clients may have committed has to be determined by the High Court as it is the only court that can weigh the proportion of the constitutionality between freedom of expression and contempt of Court.
Magistrate Mulife has since adjourned the matter to next week Monday.