PF institutes contempt against Masebo

PATRIOTIC Front (PF) secretary general Davies Chama has asked the Lusaka High Court to grant him leave to commence contempt proceedings against its expelled Chongwe member of Parliament Sylvia Masebo for insisting that she was still a parliamentarian after her expulsion.

Mr Chama asked the court also to order that in the event that Ms Masebo continues to comment on the matter after the service of this application, leave should be granted to commit her to prison for contempt of court.

He said Ms Masebo’s remarks might place him and the court in an embarrassingly awkward situation as not to have a free mind in defending or determining this matter.

In his affidavit in support of summons for leave to institute contempt and committal proceedings, Mr Chama said Ms Masebo’s words, declarations and comments on the matter that was before the court of law were contemptuous.

“Notwithstanding the fact that she was already expelled from the Patriotic Front before commencing these proceedings, the plaintiff in an article reported in the  Post Newspaper of 3rd March 2015, clearly states that she is still member of Parliament for Chongwe constituency when that is the declaration she wants the court to make.

“Now that she has already pronounced that she is still member of Parliament for Chongwe even before the court grants her an order of injunction and after she was expelled from the party, we are of the view that such serious remarks may place either the court or the defendant in an embarrassingly awkward situation as not to have a free mind in defending or determining this matter,” he said.

Mr Chama said unless leave was granted the public perception would remain that those proceedings were academic as Ms Masebo had already automatically succeeded, thereby rendering the court’s independent and impartial determination and adjudication irrelevant.

He said there was a growing tendency by Ms Masebo and other politicians to make wild utterances and comments on matters that were before the courts of law and that unless committal proceedings were initiated, there will remain an impression that there was nothing wrong in a politician making wild utterances on an active matter in court.

“I am aware that the courts must preserve their integrity by punishing or reprimanding litigants whose comments are subjudice with a view to either put undue influence on the adjudicators or to cause them embarrassment by directing them how to decide a matter,” he said.

Mr Chama prayed to the court to grant him leave to institute contempt proceedings against the lawmaker as she had knowledge of the proceedings before making her comments.

He said ignorance of the law was not a defence and that Ms Masebo’s comments attacked the credibility of the judiciary and the courts of law and therefore lowered the estimation of the court in the eyes of society.

He said her words were calculated to either put pressure on the court to grant her an order of injunction or to cause embarrassment to the court by showing that she already knew the outcome of these proceedings.

 

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