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LAZ asks ConCourt to jail Tutwa for contempt of proceedings

THE Law Association of Zambia has applied to the Constitutional Court to commit Kabwe Central member of Parliament Tutwa Ngulube to prison for contempt of proceedings on Constitution (amendment) Bill currently before the court.

This is according to an Affidavit In Support Of Notice Of Motion For An Order For Committal For Publication In Contempt Of Proceedings filed by Association president Eddie Mwitwa on Friday.

Mwitwa explained that on August 12, 2019, LAZ moved the Constitutional Court through a petition and affidavit verifying facts challenging the decision by President Edgar Lungu to alter the Constitution of Zambia in the manner provided in the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill No. 10 of 2019; the Attorney General signing the bill for presentation to the National Assembly; and the National Assembly to publish the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill No 10 of 2019, in the Government Gazette pursuant to Article 79(2) of the Constitution; and tabling the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill No. 10 for the First Reading.

Mwitwa stated that on or about August 14, 2019, two days after LAZ moved the court, Ngulube made an audio recording of himself, which was circulated on the WhatsApp platform.

He stated that excerpts from Ngulube’s statement on the audio recording were published in a number of newspapers and social media platforms.

He said he intends to introduce the said audio recording into evidence.

“In the said audio recording the Respondent is heard saying: ‘We also want to say Mr John Sangwa SC is in bad standing with the Constitutional Court because he himself Mr John Sangwa is on record as having stated and I quote: ‘that all the Constitutional Court Judges are incompetent, ill-qualified and not capable of handling any Constitutional matter. This is the same John Sangwa who got the CVs of the Court Judges of all the ConCourt Judges and circulated them to all internet platforms and social media and insulted them and embarrassed them, exposed them to unnecessary odium and today he wants to masquerade as having repented and taking a petition to the same Judges he insulted. So, we want to see if he has the moral fibre to continue representing the Law Association of Zambia. We are saying the Law Association of Zambia deserves a lawyer who has no insults who is not in bad standing with the Constitutional Court. We do not want people who insult Judges, who have a bad standing with the Courts to be used to use the name of the Association to fight those protracted battles. (Emphasis mine)’,” he stated.

Mwitwa stated that Ngulube continued saying Mr John Sangwa was just “one of us. He is not all of us and we want to say that he [Mr John Sangwa] should tell us which case he has ever won in the Constitutional Court so that we can believe that yes even this matter he is going to win? Otherwise, knowing that State Counsel John Sangwa loses each and every constitutional matter that he takes to Court and we are not going to masquerade and pretend that Mr John Sangwa is the best constitutional lawyer we have ever produced in this country. (Emphasis mine).”

Mwigwa also stated that Ngulube also wondered why Law Association of Zambia should be dragged in a protracted battle that they all knew would end up in embarrassment.

He stated that Ngulube said the law was very clear in the Rupiah Banda case where the Supreme Court stated, “Parliament regulates its own procedure, its own internal procedures. You cannot stop Parliament from passing any law. There is no organ; there is no institution of government or governance that can supervise Parliament. Parliament is not subject to any supervision, control or management of any institution private or public. Parliament regulates its own procedure. Parliament cannot be told what to do or what not to do. You cannot sue the President who has immunity. You cannot sue Parliament which has immunity. Yes, you can sue Parliament for things that make sense but not to tell Parliament to stop making laws because one individual who is failing to justify his bills to HH to say we paid you so much we lost the petition and they are trying to please and appease Hakainde Hichilema for the bills that they chewed in the election petition. Now they are trying to show him the relevance by continuing to fight whatever positive motives or positive agendas that the PF government are putting into place. (Emphasis mine)”

“The Respondent is also heard to have said about me:

‘I would like to support the calls of State Counsel Sakwiba Sikota and other learned State Counsel who have come out in the open and said they would like us to impeach the LAZ President Mr Eddie Mwitwa for dragging the name of the Association into serious disrepute and also for being used to fight political battles on behalf of a named opposition political party, the United Party for National Development’.”

Mwitwa stated that it was clear the LAZ president, whose term of office, was coming to an end would like to leave a trail of destruction on behalf of the Association. We therefore want to urge the general membership of the Law Association of Zambia to rise and remove Mr Eddie Mwitwa from office.”

“I am also aware, as a Member of Parliament who is also a lawyer and fully paid up member of the Law Association of Zambia that Mr Eddie Mwitwa cannot impose his hatred of President Lungu on the general membership of the Law Association of Zambia. His personal views and personal vendetta should not be masqueraded or misunderstood to mean that he represents the views of the entire legal fraternity and the entire Law Association of Zambia,” Mwitwa quoted Ngulube as saying.

“The Respondent continued: ‘We are aware also that Mr Mwitwa has been paid by a named institution to fight the Patriotic Front government and also to embarrass government but we are also saying, both Mr Eddie Mwitwa and Mr John Sangwa SC were lawyers representing Mr Hakainde Hichilema in the presidential petition who failed to win the case in the ConCourt and are now trying to use the Constitution to protract their battle against His Excellency the President of this country Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu. We are also aware that Mr Mwitwa does not mean well for our Association. Just like state counsel John Sangwa is State Counsel, he is expected as State Counsel to guide the State whenever he feels there is something that the state is not doing correctly. He is not supposed to use his rank as State Counsel to fight government or to fight the state. We therefore call upon the President to strip him off the status and rank of State Counsel and let him go and continue fighting on his own without hiding under the umbrella of State Counsel. We therefore demand that Mr John Sangwa should immediately recuse himself from the court proceedings or if he fails, we will petition the President to remove his rank as State Counsel so that he does not use his position and status in the legal fraternity to fight his personal battles against the President’. (Emphasis mine).”

Mwitwa stated that that publication of the said statements by Ngulube had created a substantial risk that the course of justice in the proceedings touching on the Petition would be seriously impeded or prejudiced.

He also stated that Ngulube’s statement was intended to prejudice the administration of justice and to prejudge the issues for determination herein.

“I have no doubt that the Respondent is the maker of the said audio recording because he concluded the same by saying: ‘My name is Tutwa Ngulube, Member of Parliament for Kabwe Central, Government Deputy Chip Whip at the National Assembly and also Lawyer and Legal Practitioner, Managing Partner at Tutwa S. Ngulube and Company, a Lusaka based Law firm here in Zambia’,” stated Mwitwa.

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