An explicit court order issued last week by the Lusaka Magistrate Court to Commissioner of Prisons Percy Chato and Officers in Charge at Chimbokaila and Mukobeko Prisons to bring Hakainde Hichilema and five others back to Lusaka has been disobeyed.
This came to light this morning in the Lusaka Magistrate Court in the matter in which Religious and National Guidance Minister Godfridah Sumaili is accused of contempt by commenting on the treason case involving Mr. Hichilema and five others.
When the matter came up this morning before Magistrate Ireen Wishimanga, Lawyer representing Mrs. Sumaili Eric Silwamba wanted to proceed with preliminary issues but was quickly interrupted by Mr. Hichilema’s lawyers who objected that the matter cannot proceed without the complainants Mr. Hichilema and five others present in court.
Lawyer Marshall Muchende submitted that Mr Chato and the two prison officers be cited for contempt as this is the only way the court will maintain its dignity.
And Keith Mweemba said the failure by the state to respect the court order is an insult and disrespect to the court.
And Magistrate Wishimanga has since adjourned the matter to Wednesday and ordered that Mr. Hichilema and five others be brought before court at 12:30 Hours.
She however failed to cite the prison authorities for contempt saying she will give a benefit of doubt to prisons officers to follow the court order adding that failure to do so she will cite them for contempt.