THE Lusaka High Court has struck out a matter in which Cornelius Mweetwa petitioned the court over the Parliament’s decision to subject him to a disciplinary hearing for refusing to apologise to Vice-President Inonge Wina.
According to the order signed by Judge Charles Zulu on July 14, 2021, it was ordered that the matter be struck out given the non-attendance of the parties, especially the petitioner.
“Given the inexcusable non-attendance of the parties, in particular the petitioner, the matter is hereby struck out from the active cause list with liberty to restore within 30 days from the date of this order, in default the matter shall stand dismissed for want of prosecution,” stated Judge Zulu.
Mweetwa in July 2020, during a TV programme dubbed ‘Costa the other side’ on Diamond TV said it was shameful and shallow for Vice-President Wina to frame the UPND for the gassing of schools and homes that hit the country that year.
And in this matter, Mweetwa who is Choma Central UPND aspiring member of parliament, was seeking a declaration that the Speaker’s ruling that found him to have been out of order following a point of order raised by former Lands Minister Jean Kapata that he attacked Vice-President Wina’s persona, was null and void.
On July 10, 2020, Speaker of the National Assembly Dr Patrick Matibini in his ruling found Mweetwa to have been out of order in breach of Parliamentary Privilege and in contempt of the House.
Dr Matibini admonished Mweetwa as punishment for the same and asked him to apologise, but he declined.
Mweetwa stated that he had declined to apologise for the same because he verily believed that his reaction to the statement by the Vice-President was in enjoyment of his freedom of expression, assembly and association as guaranteed in the Constitution.
On November 13, 2020, the Clerk of the National Assembly wrote to him notifying him that he would be subjected to further disciplinary hearings on November 18, 2020, and later moved to December 2, 2020.
Mweetwa, who cited the Attorney General as respondent in this matter, wanted a declaration that the said ruling by Speaker of the National Assembly dated July 10, 2020, was null and void ab initio by reason of it being in breach of the fundamental freedoms enjoyed by him under Articles 11(b), 18, 20 and 21.
He also wanted an order striking down section 3, 11 and 22 of the National Assembly Powers and Privileges Act; and an order that the pending disciplinary actions against him were illegal by reason of being in violation of Articles 11(b), 18, 20 and 21.