UPND vice-president Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba (GBM) has accused magistrate David Simusamba of being biased.
GBM was speaking to journalists at the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court after magistrate Simusamba finally granted MMD leader Nevers Mumba K30,000 cash bail, pending appeal.
In his ruling, which was delivered in his chambers yesterday, magistrate Simusamba also ordered Mumba to have two working sureties bound at K30,000 each in their own recognisance.
This is in a matter in which Mumba was convicted and sentenced to three-months imprisonment for giving false information to a police officer at ZNBC.
GBM said he was happy that Mumba’s lawyers had filed a complaint against the magistrate’s alleged judicial misconduct to Chief Justice Ireen Mambilima.
He swore that in case he went to court, he would ask magistrate Simusamba to recuse himself from handling his cases.
“This (Mumba’s bail) is long overdue. This should have have happened, in fact, the day that he was sentenced because that was unnecessary as far as we are concerned. I’m glad that the lawyers of Dr Mumba have taken it up, they have written to the Chief Justice. This has been unfair by the judge who has been handling this matter. In all honesty it raises a lot of suspicions. For me, in my next case, if I’m told that I will appear before him, I will ask him to recuse himself. I don’t want him to handle any of my cases if at all I will come here because he already has shown the biasness. Anybody anti-PF, we are in trouble. I would like to appeal to the Judiciary to be fair. They shouldn’t take sides at all. It has been unnecessary for Dr Mumba to have stayed there for so many days. He doesn’t deserve that. He is an honest man and a clergy,” GBM said.
He charged that Mumba’s case was handled purely on political affiliation.
“Also, I would like to find out from the three [church] mother bodies, ‘why have you sat without even commenting on Dr Mumba’s incarceration? You have all been quiet but when it comes to Edgar Lungu, you say let’s go for prayers’. We won’t come there I’m telling you now. You are calling Zambia a Christian nation, is this Christian nation where a senior clergyman like Dr Mumba can be incarcerated without any proper reasons, without any case? I’m not a judge or magistrate but I know that that matter was not properly handled it was purely based on political affiliation. If today Dr Mumba decides to dine and wine with Edgar Lungu, he will not go into jail. Even if he kills someone, he will not go to jail. All those that are inclined to PF, today they can go scott free. This is not good. The judiciary should operate beyond being partisan,” said GBM.
And MMD vice-president Reverend Reuben Sambo lamented that the bail conditions were extremely harsh.
“The conditions are extremely harsh but we will make every effort to meet the bail conditions. And we will expect that Dr Mumba will be released today [yesterday] from incarceration. From the party, we are obviously outraged. Like the vice-president GBM has said, we really don’t think that this was unfair, it was uncalled for, it was absolutely unnecessary but we are glad that it has finally come to the end. Even though obviously, in the manner that we didn’t expect it be. We will be busy getting the bail conditions sorted and we are happy that Dr Mumba will be out and will be with his family later on today,” said Rev Sambo.
Meanwhile, People’s Party president Mike Mulongoti said if President Lungu was indeed Zambian, he would not enjoy incarcerating others.
“Justice must always be seen to be done. There’s [an] outcry on this matter, the churches are quiet, NGOs are quiet. When we ask questions of the identity of the President this is the more reason why we are doing it because if he was one of us he would not enjoy incarcerating others,” said Mulongoti.