UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema and his vice Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba have filed a motion to compel Lusaka High Court judge Mwila Chitabo recuse himself from presiding over their presidential petition saying there is cause to question his impartiality.
This is in a matter in which the UPND appealed the Constitutional Court’s decision to dismiss their presidential petition on a technicality in the High Court, seeking its declaration that their human rights were infringed.
According to a notice of motion for recusal and for an order of transfer filed in court yesterday through lawyers from Messrs Malambo and Company, Messrs Mwenya and Mwitwa and Messrs Simeza, Sangwa and Associates, HH and GBM stated that they wanted judge Chitabo to recuse himself.
“Take notice that Hakainde Hichilema and Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba, the petitioners above named shall at the intended hearing of this petition on the 15th March, 2017 at 09:00 hours (or any other date hereof) to move this honorable court to on an application on the part of the said petitioners that His Lordship Justice Mwila Chitabo SC, does recuse himself from presiding over this matter and that the matter be transferred to another judge, or panel of judges of the High Court on the following grounds, that is to say: that there is reasonable cause to question his Lordships impartiality in this matter on the grounds of personal bias or perceived bias in his conduct of the proceedings; and that his Lordship cannot otherwise preside over this matter due to a conflict of interest which disqualifies him from so presiding. Take further notice that that petitioners will rely, inter alia, on their joint affidavit in support of the motion and skeleton argument filed herewith,” read the notice of motion.
The petition could not take off today as judge Chitabo was unavailable but lawyers say it will proceed tomorrow.
UPND secretary general Stephen Katuka has advised party members to stay away from the High Court premises saying he is aware that PF cadres are planning to disrupt proceedings.