CHITA Lodge Limited has argued that the delay by four Lusaka men to prosecute a matter where it has been sued together with Kaizer Zulu and others for alleged kidnapping and assault is inexcusable, prejudicial and detrimental as it continues to incur expenses in an effort to defend the claim.

Chita Lodge Limited has, therefore, asked the Lusaka High Court to dismiss the said matter for want of prosecution.

But the four Lusaka men have argued that the application by Chita Lodge to have their case dismissed is frivolous and vexatious, adding that no prejudice has been occasioned to the defendants in the matter.

This is a matter in which Bernard Nshindo, Sengelwayo Jere, Saul Masikoti, who are qualified surveyors and businessmen, as well as Mason Mweemba, a driver, sued Zulu, President Edgar Lungu’s former Special Assistant for Political Affairs and his two acquaintances, Kachingwe and Rashid in September, last year, for allegedly beating and kidnapping them on accusations that they were taking pictures of his speed boat at Chita Lodge in Kafue.

Others sued are Chita Lodge Limited and Bella Mwanza, an employee of the said lodge.

But in their defence, Chita Lodge Limited and its employee, Mwanza, denied being aware of the alleged assault on the plaintiffs, nor participating in it.

They argued that Zulu and his two acquaintances were admitted into the premises as visiting guests and that if at all the assault took place, which is denied, they acted in their individual capacities as guests.

Chita Lodge and Mwanza have now asked the Court to dismiss the matter for want of prosecution.

In an affidavit in support of summons to dismiss matter for want of prosecution filed in the Lusaka High Court recently, Chita Lodge and Mwanza stated through their lawyer Nomankhosi Jere of Messrs. Ranchhod | Chungu Advocates that it had now been over three months since they filed their defence, adding that the plaintiffs had neglected to prosecute the matter.

“To-date, the plaintiff has neglected and/or omitted to issue Orders for Directions. On June 3, 2020, the defendant, through its Advocates Messrs. Ranchhod | Chungu Advocates, wrote to the plaintiffs’ advocates advising them to prosecute the matter, failure to which an application to dismiss for want of prosecution. Receipt of the same was acknowledged,” read the affidavit.

Jere submitted that the plaintiffs’ delay in prosecuting the matter was inordinate, inexcusable, prejudicial and detrimental as the defendant continued to incur expenses in an effort to defend the claim.

“I, therefore, crave the indulgence of this Honourable Court to dismiss this matter for Want of Prosecution,” he stated.

But in an affidavit in opposition, the plaintiffs, through their lawyer Machayi Kasaji of Messrs C L Mundia and Company, strongly objected to the defendants’ application for an Order to dismiss the matter for Want of Prosecution as it was frivolous and vexatious.

Kasaji stated that it was surprising that the defendants were so determined to have the matter dismissed on an interlocutory basis rather than have it heard on the merits.

“It cannot be said that the plaintiffs have neglected to issue an Order for Directions because cases in the High Court are Court-driven, therefore, only the Court is imbued with the authority to issue an Order for Directions. Moreover, the Court record will show that on June 5, 2020, the plaintiffs caused to be filed Summons for Directions and an Order for Directions, which documents we are yet to uplift from Court,” read the affidavit.

He stated that no prejudice had been occasioned to the defendants in the matter as prejudice must be demonstrated and not merely pleaded.

“By reason of the premises, I beseech this Court’s indulgence to dismiss the fourth and fifth defendants’ application as the same is frivolous and vexatious,” stated Kasaji.