Civil rights activist Brebner Changala is shocked that Acting Chief Justice Lombe Chibesakunda and High Court Judge Isaac Chali ignored his request to set up a Divisional Court to hear his application demanding that Cabinet should be compelled to establish a medical board to ascertain President Michael Sata’s physical and mental status to continue performing the functions of the office of President.
Mr Changala has also expressed dismay that Judge Chali who is Judge in-Charge allocated the case to himself and proceeded to determine without a hearing.
Due to the nature of the application and the constitutional novelty of the case, Mr Changala had written to Acting Chief Justice Lombe Chibesakunda and Judge Chali to set up a Divisional Court comprising not less than three puisne Judges to hear and determine his application.
He said what was more shocking was that Judge Chali made the ruling on his application without hearing him and in the absence of his lawyers, Makebi Zulu Advocates.
Mr Changala said following his application to the High Court and given the nature of the case as well as the novelty of the constitutional issues, he had requested that a Divisional Court be set up but to his surprise and shock, Judge Chali ignored his request and made a ruling on the matter.
In his letter captioned Re: Request to set up a Divisional Court to hear cause number 2014/HP/1058, dated 11th July 2014 addressed to the Acting Chief Justice, Mr Changala requested that his application demanding that cabinet should be compelled to form a medical board to examine President Sata be heard by no less than three puisne Judges.
But before he could get a response to his request for a Divisional Court, Judge Chali on Friday 12th July 2014 made a ruling without hearing Mr Changala and in the absence of his lawyers.
Mr Changala has since resolved to go back to court to re-submit his application because he strongly believes Judge Chali deliberately mishandled his matter and that he was still requesting that the application must be heard by not less than three puisne Judges.
He said the ruling dealt with main issues in his application without both sides being given a chance to be heard and wondered why the Judge decided to get personal in a matter that was of public interest.
Mr Changala said the ruling totally ignored the constitutional issues that were supposed to be considered at the main trial charging that his application was of public interest that could not be trashed without due regard to the matters that were causing speculation, innuendoes and anxiety among citizens.
“It is shocking that Judge Chali ignored my request to set up a Divisional Court which was delivered to him and acknowledged a day before he made his ruling. I have no doubt in my mind that Judge Chali grossly mishandled my application for reasons best known to himself. Since I am convinced that my application was deliberately mishandled, I am going back to the High Court tomorrow (today) to re-submit my application. I am also insisting that my application must be heard by not less than three puisne Judges. I am getting back to the steps of the High Court with the same vigour and energy for I feel Zambians still have faith in the judiciary and some of its Judges,” he said.
Mr Changala said Judge Chali was not doing himself and the judiciary any good and that Zambians could see through his ruling because President Sata’s health was a concern for all Zambians and it was important that the anxieties and tension that had been created be cleared.
He said the ruling did not only attack his persona but was abusive in its tone , an indication that the judge did not take time to read the exhibits he had submitted to the court before making a ruling.
President Sata has not been seen or heard since he left for Israel for his working holiday on Friday 20th June 2014 and he returned from Tel Aviv just as silently as he left prompting a flurry of points of order in Parliament by opposition Members of Parliament on the whereabouts of the Head of State and his health status.The opposition MPs have requested Vice-President Guy Scott to facilitate a meeting with President Sata since government has maintained that the Head of State was in good health while a moratorium has been placed on the debate on the whereabouts and health status of the President. On 26th July 2014, Mr Changala filed an application in the High Court demanding that cabinet must be compelled to constitute a medical board to examined President Sata’s physical and mental status following his recent frail and sickly appearances.