THE Livingstone High Court has transferred the matter where UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema has sued Chilufya Tayali for defamation to Lusaka.
Last year, the court granted Hichilema an order of interim injunction restraining Tayali from publishing defamatory words against him.
Hichilema, through his lawyers L. M. Chambers, on December 7, 2017 gave Tayali 48 hours in which to apologise and withdraw his statement which he posted on his Facebook page alleging that the UPND leader was a Freemason.
He further demanded that Tayali tenders a written apology within the said period or face a court process.
Tayali, who is leader of the Economic and Equity Party (EEP), on his page had stated that he could prove that Hichilema practiced Freemasonry.
On January 4, Tayali, during an inter-parte hearing before Livingstone High Court Judge Chilombo Phiri, requested that the matter be moved to Lusaka owing to various reasons.
One of the reasons was that it was costly for him to be travelling to Livingstone to attend court and that his life was in danger as the UPND cadres were allegedly violent.
However, justice Phiri in her ruling wondered how Tayali, who claimed to be a leader of a political party, could fail to raise money to travel to Livingstone.
Over the lack of a postal address for Tayali in Livingstone, justice Phiri reminded him that court services could even be done electronically.
Over the request to have the matter transferred to Lusaka, justice Phiri said Section 23 (1) of the High Court Act provides for transfer of matters or causes between judges at any stage of the proceedings and either with or without the application of any of the parties thereto.
“My understanding of the above proviso is that it is the judge before whom the matter has been allocated or who has conduct of the matter who should obtain consent from the judge to whom it is proposed to transfer such matter…it should be noted the application to transfer matter to another judge at Lusaka is not intended to limit the territorial jurisdiction of the Livingstone High Court in any way. I have considered the reasons advanced by the defendant in making this application. I form the opinion that having regard to the convenience of the parties and witnesses if any, it would be desirable to have this matter heard in Lusaka…I did seek the consent of Judge Pixie Yangailo of the Lusaka High Court to transfer this matter to her and she did consent to the transfer of the matter to her…this matter is hereby transferred to Judge Pixie Yangailo of the Lusaka High Court,” said Judge Phiri.