WHEN I speak about how magistrate Simusamba has treated me, my heart bleeds, Chishimba Kambwili has said.
And Kambwili has asked the Electoral Commission of Zambia to ‘stop the nonsense’ of trying to register nine million voters in one month.
Kambwili broke down while addressing the media at his residence in Lusaka yesterday when he attempted to talk about his encounters with Lusaka Magistrates’ Court principal resident magistrate David Simusamba.
The NDC leader who fought back tears complained about magistrate Simusamba’s handling of his forgery case.
“Bushe kwena the entire judiciary nabena Zambia tamulemona ifyo Simusamba ancita treat. (Surely, haven’t the judiciary and Zambians seen how Simusamba has treated me?). I have been treated badly. I had Covid but despite having Covid, he issued a bench warrant against me. Lilya acita issue bench warrant acita summon the doctors that attended to me naba (and the) provincial health director baisa chita confirm that this man came to Roan General Hospital and he had Covid, he was positive for Covid. We took another test last week on Friday and it came negative, but the magistrate refused to listen to the doctors and said mukayeleta uwaku lab akese cita confirm (you should bring the lab technician to confirm). Who does that?” Kambwili complained. “The doctor requests for specimen elo atuma ku lab. Elo aba ku lab nga bapima tebesa mukulanda ama results yama tests, bapela ba doctor, (when the lab technicians test the samples, it’s not them who announce results, they give them to the doctor), then ba (the) doctor ebacita (does) pronounce that this man was positive or not. But ba doctor baisa ku court, mwebena Zambia nangu kupata umunenu sure! Ba Simusamba nangu kumpata…! Ba doctor balanda ati alilwele but no, I now summon the lab assistant from tropical disease centre akesecita confirm nga cacine uyu nga ali positive. Ulupato lulemoneka, unfairness ilemoneka. But everybody is quiet about it ati pantu ni Kambwili lekeni bakamukake, bakamucite cintu.Uushibutukila mutembo wamubiye, nowakwe upokwa. (Doctors come to court, Zambians, even if it’s hatred really! Simusamba, even if it’s your hatred against me! The doctors say this person is sick, you summon the lab assistant from Tropical Diseases [Research Centre] to come and confirm if I am truly positive. Your hatred is visible, unfairness is visible. Everybody is quiet because it’s Kambwili, let him be jailed so that he’s punished. Whoever does not show concern over another person’s misfortune shall also be ignored when faced with a similar predicament).”
On Monday, Kambwili’s lawyers could not conclude defence in the matter as earlier directed by the court on grounds that they were engaged before superior courts. When the matter came up, a representative from Mwenye and Mwitwa Advocates told magistrate Simusamba that counsel in conduct of the matter, State Counsel Musa Mwenye was appearing before the Court of Appeal and requested an adjournment. In response state advocate Mukuma Chipawa said the court on September 15 directed the defence to conclude with its last two witnesses on September 21.
In his ruling magistrate Simusamba maintained that at the last sitting he had guided Kambwili’s lawyers that he would allow the last adjournment. Magistrate Simusamba rejected the application for an adjournment and terminated Kambwili’s defence at the peril of his lawyers.
“I have given ample time to the accused to prepare defence, and now I close the case. The application for an adjournment is denied and I will render my judgement in two weeks,” ruled Magistrate Simusamba. He ordered the defence to file in submissions on September 28, while the state will file submissions on October 5 and that he will deliver judgement on October 12.
But Kambwili explained that his witnesses were before court while Mwenye was attending to a matter at the Court of Appeal while Keith Mweemba had indicated in the previous sitting that he would not be available as he was appearing before court in Chipata.
“Christopher Mundia my other lawyer was in court yesterday (Monday) at the High Court of Zambia. And the notice of hearing for all my lawyers are in my phone. Ukuya ipushafye (Simply asking) for an adjournment to accord my witnesses bonse bakapele (for them to give) testimony in order for the magistrate to make a just decision, he refuses an adjournment. The best he could have done was to ask me to conduct my own defence and bring the witnesses on stand, because the witnesses were there but he says I have closed your defence. Ba Chief Justice epo bali balemona (the Chief Justice is there to see), you just want me to be hanged elo mukatemwe ati ehe, efyo twalefwaya, (then you will rejoice and say, yes, this is what we wanted),” he complained.
Kambwili said he had nothing against magistrate Simusamba but the way he had been behaving and conducting himself.
“Why not allow me to finish my defence, call my lawyers, give evidence but waya putula ati (you just close the case and say) I will give my judgment? Everybody can tell the outcome of this case. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist but Lesa tupepa talala (the God we worship never sleeps). I am ready for anything but know that I have been treated very badly,” he said.
Kambwili said the exhibited level of unfairness from the court was unheard off.
Meanwhile, Kambwili said the Electoral Commission of Zambia has become so arrogant and warned that it would plunge the nation into chaos if it mishandles the issue of voter registration.
He said the online voter registration which the ECZ is insisting on was not feasible as it is alien.
Kambwili asked the ECZ to stop the ‘nonsense’ of creating a new voters register and limiting the period of registration to 30 days.
He said before any decisions are made, the ECZ has a duty to consult the people.
“Particularly the people who should listen and listen good, it’s the Electoral Commission of Zambia because the ECZ was established by an Act of parliament to conduct elections on behalf of the people of Zambia. And in conducting elections, the ECZ must be cognizant of the fact that in elections there are stakeholders and it is therefore cardinal that before any decisions are made, the stakeholders must be consulted and involved,” Kambwili said. “What we have seen from this [justice Esau] Chulu led ECZ is that they have decided to be doing things on their own without regard of stakeholders who are mainly the people of Zambia and also political players and political parties. This is very sad. I want to earnestly and honestly appeal to the ECZ that please don’t plunge this country into turmoil.”
He reminded justice Chulu and ECZ commissioner Emily Sikazwe that Zambia has been a peaceful country and thus would not want to see the opposite.
Kambwili warned against tampering with the old voters’ register. He wondered what the ECZ was trying to achieve by doing away with the current register and attempting to register nine million voters in a month.
Kambwili noted that the issuance of NRCs was done only in the PF strongholds and before the other region for the opposition gets the document, the ECZ begins the voter registration exercise.
“President Edgar Lungu, my dear President with due respect, you said I now want to be on top of things with the economy and otherwise…this is one area where you can show leadership. And I am convinced beyond reasonable doubt that you are reasonable enough to see sense in what we are saying but don’t pretend and give it a blind eye. Act on it. This thing can either work against you or work for you depending on which side of the coin you are,” Kambwili said.
He advised the ECZ to revert to the physical registration.
Kambwili said the process of removing those who have died from the register should be done in consultation with the councils who issue burial permits.