The Judiciary of Zambia says opposition UPND president Hakainde Hichilema’s lawyer Gilbert Phiri will not be allowed audience before any court until the Law Association of Zambia disciplines him for posting commentaries on social media.

According to a letter dated August 11, 2017 addressed to LAZ president Linda Kasonde, signed by Judiciary chief registrar Charles Kafunda, Phiri is accused of posting statements against the judiciary on various social media platforms.

“The attention of the Judiciary has been drawn to a number of articles which have been circulating in the news media on the internet since the 10th August, 2017 which have been attributed to Mr Gilbert Phiri, a legal practitioner. The articles in question have been published in the Zambian Eagle, an internet publication as well as Facebook. The Judiciary has every reason to believe that the said articles have also been circulating on other media, Kafunda stated.

“The said articles have been running under various headings as follow: ‘plans by court to stop journalists from using phones during HH trial is totally unlawful and won’t be tolerated – HH’s lawyers.’ And ‘HH Court updates warming up for Monday – HH’s lawyer Gilbert Phiri writes’.”

He asked Kasonde to take action against Phiri.

“Arising from the foregoing, the Judiciary thereby lodges a formal complaint of professional misconduct against the named practitioner and expect your association to take the necessary steps against the practitioner.
In the meantime, I have been directed to inform you that until the complaint against the practitioner in question is concluded, he will not be allowed audience before any court. By copy of this letter, the practitioner in question is advised accordingly,” stated Kafunda.

“The Judiciary wishes to serve a general notice to all your members that in future, courts will not hesitate to deal with any erring practitioners in accordance with the powers vested in them.”