ConCourt subpoenas Speaker, ZNBC DG over UPND MPs’ Parley boycott

The Constitutional Court has subpoenaed the Speaker of the National Assembly Dr Patrick Matibini and ZNBC Director General Richard Mwanza to testify in a matter where 44 UPND members of parliament have been dragged to court for boycotting President Edgar Lungu’s address to Parliament in 2017.

This is a matter in which a Kabangwe resident Richard Mumba has petitioned the Court seeking an order that the UPND members of parliament, who include Garry Nkombo and 43 others, breached the Constitution when they shunned President Lungu’s address two years ago.

The petitioner, had asked the Constitutional Court through his lawyer Robson Malipenga, to subpoena Dr Matibini and Mwanza.

And in an Order dated March 18, Constitutional Court judge Enock Mulembe granted leave to issue subpoenas upon hearing Counsel for the petitioner and reading the affidavit that he filed.

According to a subpoena “ad testificandum and duces” pursuant to the Constitutional Court Act no. 8 of 2016 dated March 18, ZNBC Director General Richard Mwanza has been ordered to bring to court, a television broadcast footage of March 17, 2017, of President Lungu’s address to Parliament and also give evidence on what he knows on the matter before court.

Mwanza has further been warned that failure to attend Court would be deemed as contempt and may result in committal to prison.

Meanwhile, in another subpoena, Dr Matibini has been “commanded in the President’s name” to attend at the sittings before the Constitutional Court on March 20, 2019, for hearing of the petition.

He has also been commanded to bring with him and to produce all documents in his custody relating to the 44 respondents (UPND members of parliament).

Dr Matibini is further commanded to avail a list of documents to give evidence on behalf of the petitioner, Mumba, on what he knows about the matter before court as Speaker of the National Assembly.

He has further been commanded to produce before court; Oath of allegiance and office sworn before him in September, 2016, for the 44 UPND members of parliament.

Dr Matibini is further ordered to produce consolidated salaries and allowances paid by the government to the 44 UPND members of parliament or any other documents as proof of payments, such as payslips.

“You are commanded to produce the Presidential speech or report by President Edgar Lungu on the progress of the national values and principles delivered on March 17, 2017, in the National Assembly or Parliament and any relevant documents to the matter,” read the subpoena.

Dr Matibini has also been notified that failure to attend Court would be deemed as contempt and may result in committal to prison.

In this matter, the petitioner wants the Court to declare that the 44 members of parliament contravened Articles 72 (2)(c) and 261 of the Code of Ethics; Articles 260 Oath of Office and section 19 (e); acts of intentional disrespect to the President and proceedings of the National Assembly when they shunned President Lungu’s address on March 17, 2017.

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