THE Lusaka High Court has dismissed an application by Lusaka Mayor Miles Sampa’s ex-wife Mwika Mwenechanya where she wanted an order for leave to issue committal proceedings against Sampa for failing to comply with a court order on child maintenance.
In her ruling, Lusaka High Court Judge Nicole Sharpe-Phiri found that the said application is academic in nature and had been overtaken by events in view of the attachment of earnings order issued by the deputy registrar against Sampa on July 19, 2019, where the Lusaka City Council (LCC) was ordered to make monthly payments.
In this matter, Mwika wanted the Court to cite Sampa for contempt of court for allegedly failing to comply with the Court’s order dated, April 2019, which ordered him to be paying maintenance for the child of the family.
Mwika had asked the Lusaka High Court to order the LCC to be paying K7,000 every month out of Sampa’s earnings for child maintenance.
She had disclosed that since the presentation of the petition for dissolution of marriage, Sampa had declined to make any financial contribution towards the child’s monthly needs and also declined to pay her current school fees.
The High Court granted Mwika an order for the LCC, who are Sampa’s employers, to make payment of K7,000 from the Mayor’s earnings in accordance with the Affiliation and Maintenance of Children Act.
The Court also ordered the LCC to pay the outstanding school fees for the child.
But according to Mwika in an alleged contempt of court, Sampa had neglected to comply with the Court’s order.
She, therefore, applied that Sampa be cited for contempt of court.
But Judge Phiri in her ruling, said leave for an order for committal against Sampa should not be readily granted particularly in aid of a civil remedy where there were other available avenues.
She said it was clear that at the time of filing the application for an order for committal against Sampa on June 25, 2019, Mwika’s counsel had filed an earlier application for attachment of earnings, which was granted on July 19, 2019, several weeks before this application was heard before her.
Judge Phiri said it was also clear that Sampa had also filed an application for variation of the said maintenance order, which was the subject of this application.
“For the foregoing reason, I do find that this application is academic in nature and has been overtaken by events in view of the attachment of earnings order issued by the deputy registrar against him (Sampa) on the 19th July, 2019. Applications of this nature should not be taken lightly and brought in aid of a civil debt where there are other remedies for enforcing the debt,” Judge Phiri ruled.
“The applicant should have obtained satisfaction from the said order rendering these proceedings herein academic. In view of the above, the application is dismissed accordingly.”
The history of this matter is that Sampa and Mwika were a married couple, but subsequently divorced by the Lusaka High Court through a judgement delivered on June 14, 2018.
Following the judgement for the dissolution of marriage, Mwika applied for an order for maintenance of the child of the family against Sampa before the deputy registrar of the High Court, who rendered a ruling in the said matter on April 23, 2019.
Sampa was ordered to pay the outstanding balance of US $13,000 school fees at the American International School in Lusaka and pay a monthly sum of K7,000 towards the expenses of the said child of the family on or before the 6th of every day of the month.
It was Mwika’s deposition that despite having served the said ruling, Sampa had failed to pay maintenance of the child of the family for the months of May and June, 2019, as directed by the deputy registrar.