POST Newspaper owner Fred M’membe should be grateful to Resident Magistrate Kenneth Mulife for not sending him to prison for his misconduct and therefore he must watch his mouth before he speaks next time and avoid insulting people in the manner he desires, Lusaka lawyer Sakwiba Sikota has said.
And Young African Leaders Initiative president Andrew Ntewewe has said that M’membe was not above the law and should have received a much stiffer punishment as an officer of the court for insulting in court.
In an interview Mr. Sikota said the behaviour of M’membe was shameful, and he must realise that he was not above the law.
“He is a lawyer and he understands the consequences of his conduct. He must be thankful to Hon. Mulife for just admonishing him. He would have been sent to prison for a much longer period for contempt in that fashion. He must watch his mouth before he opens it and says whatever he wants to say. He is not above the law. His conduct is shameful and uncalled for,” said Mr. Sikota who is also a State Counsel.
And Mr. Ntewewe said the ‘foolish charge’ statement by M’membe in the Lusaka magistrates court on Monday was a direct attack and an insult on the Judiciary and a threat to the independence of the justice system of the country.
He challenged LAZ to show interest in the conduct of M’membe, saying his conduct was not inspiring to the justice system of the country.
“Such statements should attract the attention of LAZ because they are a threat to the judiciary in this country. All of us should be subjected to the law and M’membe is not above the law. He is just like any other individual. He must realise that such kind of behaviour is unZambia. He should realise that we want these institutions of governance to be independent,” he said.
He said LAZ should counsel their members to be sober and to show respect for the law rather than ridicule institutions of governance in the manner M’membe was doing.
The YALI president said the conduct of M’membe was a clear indication that he has no respect for the rule of law and institutions of justice in the country and should be condemned by all well-meaning Zambians.
“There is no one above the law. If that is what M’membe thought, it is unfortunate and annoying that we still have people in the country who think that they can intimidate the judiciary in the manner Mr. M’membe did. It is devastating for the judiciary that individuals like Mr. M’membe can shamelessly insult in court openly as if they were above the law,” he said.
Mr. Ntewewe accused M’membe of sowing seeds of hate and discontent in the nation by failure to observe the rules of natural justice.
“M’membe is sowing bad seed and anarchy in the nation. He must be caned and learn to take responsibility of his conduct. We want him to take this with a deep thought of reasonableness rather than that of utter contempt and show off that he can insult the courts. We find such statement shocking, distressful and insulting and a threat on the independence of the judiciary especially that it was made to the face of a sitting magistrate in court. We feel this is a direct assault on the judiciary,” said Mr. Ntewewe.
He said M’membe was a senior lawyer and a member of the country’s legal family, adding that it was disappointing and a source of grave concern that such a statement was attributed to him (M’membe) when he could have avoided insulting the courts.
The YALI president wondered the kind of behaviour and picture M’membe portrayed to the courts, adding that it was highly mischievous for him to suggest that the charges against him were foolish.