THE Law Association of Zambia has finally cleared the air by stating that the procedure for reporting the contempt of court committed by Mr. Hakainde Hichilema was followed and that the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Lillian Shawa-Siyuni, must evaluate the available evidence to decide whether to prosecute or not to prosecute the case.
Responding to questions from journalists during the Public Discussion Forum on the ‘Executive versus the Judiciary’ organised by News Diggers at Southern Sun Hotel on Tuesday night, LAZ President Eddie Mwitwa stated that any member of the public has a right to make a complaint to the DPP or the courts against contempt committed outside the face of the Court.
Mr. Mwitwa said the DPP has powers to prosecute contempt and the alleged culprit, Mr. Hichilema, is entitled to be represented by a lawyer of his choice before an independent and impartial court.
The LAZ chief said contempt outside the face of court is dealt with like any other criminal offense such as theft where any person makes a complaint with the DPP or the Court and the DPP has discretion to prosecute after evaluating the strength of the available evidence
Last month, Deputy Chief Justice, Marvin Mwanamwamba, in response to a complaint lodged by a citizen wondered why, for “unexplained reasons” the Constitutional Court has not cited Mr. Hichilema, as the “culprit”, to prove his allegations against the three judges of the Constitutional Court whom he accused were “corrupt, evil musketeers setting the country ablaze just over money, nepotism and unprofessionalism.”
The remarks by Mr. Hichilema were defended by his party Spokesperson, Charles Kakoma, who said the Constitutional Court decided not to charge Mr. Hichilema with criminal contempt because they did not deem it as an offence. Mr. Hichilema has also been defended by US based Professor Muna Ndulo, whose remarks have now been contradicted by the Law Association of Zambia.
Various political parties and groups have called for the prosecution of Mr. Hichilema and wondered why he has been treated as a sacred cow when other citizens face similar contempt proceedings before various courts of law. Last year, Mr. Hichilema had himself instituted separate criminal proceedings against a government minister and staff at State House.