Contempt of Court charges against FAZ President Andrew Kamanga and five others have been dropped today by the Lusaka Magistrate Court.
Lusaka Magistrate Lameck Mwale on March 20 issued a bench warrant on Kamanga and five others for failing to appear before him in defiance of a court order to halt the FAZ electoral process on March 11 during the Copperbelt province FAZ elections .
This is after banned FAZ councilor Damiano Mutale and a non-FAZ member Patson Lusaka filed an injunction restraining FAZ from continuing its then ongoing provincial electoral process that was due to culminate on March 29 with the elective FAZ AGM but has been postponed due to the Coronavirus.
Here is a statement from FAZ in full:
KAMANGA WALKS FREE…Court Revokes Bench Warrant
The Lusaka Magistrate Court has withdrawn the bench warrant issued against FAZ president Andrew Kamanga and five others.
A calm looking Kamanga appeared before Magistrate Lameck Mwale on a charge of contempt of court charge.
However, when the matter came up for the return of the bench warrant that was issued last Friday after General Secretary Adrian Kashala appeared representing FAZ as chief executive officer and also Electoral Commission of Zambia employees that were conducting elections on behalf of FAZ, the court sought an explanation of the absence of the quintet.
Kamanga explained to the court that he was never served with the summons as the documents were served at Football House.
The FAZ boss said that his understanding was that the person sued in football matters was the general secretary who is the chief executive officer.
FAZ Electoral Committee chairperson Ronald Hatoongo and Electoral Commission of Zambia employees seconded to FAZ for purposes of conducting elections told the court that they never received the summons and were only alerted of their court appearance after the Friday (March 20, 2020) bench warrant was issued.
The ECZ officials are Steve Nyondo, Alistair Kaleji, Christopher Munachuka and Bazolo Mseteka.
Magistrate Mwale revoked the bench warrant for all the accused with a reprimand that they should have taken steps to ensure that presented themselves before court.
Meanwhile lawyer representing the accused Chifumu Banda raised preliminary issues that bordered on the procedure used to serve the summons on the accused.
Banda argued that procedurally it was improper to serve summons on public holidays.
He also wondered why the matter was being heard in the High Court could also be duplicated in the Magistrate Court.
Banda argued that the contempt case was active in the Ndola High Court before Judge Mary Mulanda and was coming up on April 6, 2020.
He wondered why the plaintiffs Damiano Mutale and Paul Lusaka had triggered a matter that was before the High Court in the subordinate court.
Magistrate Mwale reserved ruling on the matter to April 21, 2020.
Mutale, who is a banned FAZ member and Lusaka a non-member obtained an exparte injunction in the Ndola High Court restraining FAZ from continuing with provincial elections.
The matter comes up on April 6, 2020 for Interparte hearing.
FAZ has so far conducted elections in six provinces where national executive committee members for the 2020-2024 tenure have been voted into office.
The elective congress has been postponed arising from the Covid-19 threat with FIFA directing that the Kamanga executive remains in office until the elections are held.