LUSAKA High Court judge Sunday Nkonde has asked the Constitutional Court not to join Post Newspaper proprietor Dr Fred M’membe to a matter where he is challenging the Judicial Complaints Commission’s decision to reopen a complaint against him.
Judge Nkonde argued that Dr M’membe should not be joined in the case as he does not possess the requisite standing to defend the case on behalf of JCC.
This is a matter in which judge Nkonde has dragged the State to court over the JCC’s decision to proceed to reopen a complaint lodged against him in 2017 by Dr M’membe, disregarding the ruling by Lusaka High Court judge in charge Gertrude Chawatama.
Judge Nkonde, who cited the Attorney General as the respondent, is seeking a declaration that JCC’s action to hear the complaint after judge Chawatama’s ruling under Cause No. 2018/HP/2011 is inconsistent with the provisions of Article 8(a) and (c) of the Constitution of Zambia as amended.
He also wants a declaration that the party aggrieved by the decision of a High Court judge has the right to appeal and not take out a complaint before JCC, as well as, a declaration that his subjection to a procedure different from the one adopted for other persons appearing before them is unfair and a breach of Article 8 (d) of the Constitution of Zambia as amended.
Dr M’membe recently asked the court to join him to the matter as second interested respondent, saying he had an undeniable interest in the proceedings and would be directly affected by its outcome.
He stated that if he was not joined to the suit, his interests in the matter would not be considered and he would be denied an opportunity to be heard on matters whose outcome would have an effect on his complaint.
However, in his affidavit in opposition, judge Nkonde stated that Dr M’membe had no interest in the matter concerning constitutional breaches occasioned by JCC.
Judge Nkonde stated that Dr M’membe would not suffer any prejudice as he (Judge Nkonde) had no case against him in this matter but against JCC.
He stated that Dr M’membe had not demonstrated to the court how the outcome of the petition would affect him.
And in his skeleton arguments, judge Nkonde said Dr M’membe’s application should be dismissed.
He said Dr M’membe should not be joined in the case as he did not possess the requisite standing to defend the case on behalf of the Judicial Complaints Commission.
Judge Nkonde stated that Dr M’membe seeks to base his interest on a matter that was already dealt with by High Court judge in charge Gertrude Chawatama, together with his complaint.
“There is no nexus between his complaint and the matter in casu and as such, we acquiesce that his application has no leg to stand on nor a couch to lean on. We urge this court to dismiss his claims and resultantly the entire application,” said judge Nkonde.