PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu’s former Special Assistant for Political Affairs Kaizer Zulu has asked the Lusaka High Court to dismiss a matter where two soldiers want him committed to prison for contempt of court for commenting on a case where they are accused of conspiring to murder him.
In this matter, Steven Phiri and Steven Chiiba Chooka have asked the Lusaka High Court to cite Zulu for contempt of court for commenting on the case where they are alleged to have conspired to murder him between July 30, 2017, and August 8, 2017, in Lusaka.
The said matter is still active before court.
According to their notice of motion for an order for committal, Phiri and Chooka want Zulu to be committed to prison for contempt of court as a result of the words uttered by him during a television programme broadcast on Diamond TV on November 21, last year.
They argued that the words uttered by Zulu were calculated to interfere with the course of justice.
Now, Zulu wants the said notice of motion for an order for committal set aside for being defective and irregular as it does not state exactly what he had done, which constitutes contempt of court.
This is according to a notice of motion to raise preliminary issues on a point of law filed in the Lusaka High Court Principal Registry (Criminal Jurisdiction) by Zulu’s lawyers from Dickson Jere and Associates.
“Take notice that the alleged contemnor (Zulu) shall at the next hearing raise a preliminary issue on point of law that: (i) The notice of motion for an order for committal filed, herein, does not state exactly what the alleged contemnor has done or omitted to do, which constitutes a contempt of court with sufficient particularity to enable him meet the charge as required by Order 52 Rule 4 of the Rules of the Supreme Court of England (White Book). (ii) The notice of motion for an order for committal issued, herein, be set aside for being defective and irregular for reasons set out above,” read the notice of motion.
Zulu added that costs of and occasioned by the said application shall be for him in any event and would be paid before Phiri and Chooka takes out any further steps in the proceedings.
And in skeleton arguments in support of the said notice of motion to raise preliminary issues, Zulu submitted that the law was clear on how to draft the notice of motion for committal for contempt of court, adding that the applicant’s notice of motion did not give any particulars of what he (Zulu) was alleged to have uttered.
He argued that these were contempt of court proceedings, which were criminal in nature, and that he should be given sufficient information in the notice of motion for him to respond to the charge without second guessing the allegations.
“We, therefore, pray that this honourable court will grant the alleged contemnor the relief as prayed-that is to say- setting side the notice of motion which is defective,” Zulu stated.
In their summons for leave to apply for an order of committal for contempt of court, Phiri and Chooka stated that on November 27, last year, Zulu made utterances and used speech that was in breach of the rules of the Court when he featured on a Diamond TV Programme dubbed: “COSTA.”
They added that the said programme was broadcast to the general public across the nation from about 21:00 hours and that during the programme, Zulu made remarks that were subjudice and prejudicial to the proceedings before court.
“In response to a question as to whether he had ever fired a gun to protect himself, the alleged contemnor responded in the affirmative. The alleged contemnor was quoted saying ‘there are the two military officers who the police actually arrested. They actually drove to my house. They had two targets, myself and former president Rupiah Banda. Was it necessary for me to fire with these trained marksmen or to let me die’?” Phiri and Chooka stated.
They stated that Zulu further alleged that his life was under threat.
Phiri and Chooka argued that the words uttered by Zulu were aimed at portraying them as being guilty of a crime in the eyes of the general public, including in the eyes of potential witnesses that were yet to give evidence before court, be it for the prosecution or for the defence.
They stated that some of the witnesses that they could have called in their defence in the event that they were found with a case to answer by the court had expressed scepticism about doing so following utterances made by Zulu during the programme.
Phiri and Chooka added that Zulu’s utterances were contemptuous of the court and the proceedings.