CiSCA chairperson Bishop John Mambo has appealed to President Edgar Lungu to exercise his prerogative of mercy on convicted MMD president Nevers Mumba, saying Christians should be compassionate.
Lusaka magistrate David Simusamba sentenced Mumba to three months simple imprisonment for giving false information to a public officer at ZNBC.
Mumba appealed against his conviction but failed to secure bail due to adjournments, forcing him to write a complaint of judicial misconduct against magistrate Simusamba to Chief Justice Ireen Mambilima.
Through his lawyers from Simeza Sangwa and Associates, Mumba stated that magistrate Simusamba had made several unnecessary adjournments throughout Mumba’s trespassing case adding that he appeared to be pushing a political agenda.
“We were surprised when we appeared at court on 5th April 2017 only to be advised by the Magistrate’s interpreter that the magistrate had left for Ndola on duty. We accordingly requested the interpreter to confirm with the magistrate on phone. The magistrate picked up the call from his interpreter and reiterated that he was in Ndola but then informed the interpreter to tell the parties to wait as he was making arrangements to send the court record. We waited until after 15:30 when we were informed that he was unable to send the court record and that he would only deliver his ruling on Monday 9th April 2018. We were surprised by this development as the magistrate ought to have been aware on 3rd April 2018 when he heard the bail application and reserved his ruling to Thursday 5th April 2018 that he would be traveling out of town on the scheduled date. Unfortunately, this is how the learned magistrate has conducted himself throughout these proceedings,” Mumba’s lawyers stated.
“My Lady, we are addressing this complaint to you as the head of the Judiciary and in view of Article 136 of the Constitution which charges you with the responsibility to administratively manage the judiciary and with the added duty to ensure that judicial officers perform judicial functions with dignity, propriety and integrity.”
They stated that magistrate Simusamba’s conduct did not foster integrity and honour.
“Notably, the Judicial Code of Conduct in Section 10 requires a judicial officer to diligently discharge the officer’s administrative duties and to foster integrity, honor and dignity the administration of justice. With due respect to the honorable magistrate Simusamba, we do not think his conduct meets the requirements of Section 10(1) as his conduct in the administration of justice in this matter does not foster integrity, honour and dignity of the office he occupies. The Magistrate’s behaviour in this matter undermines the independence, integrity and professionalism of the Judiciary. He appears to be pushing a political agenda instead of remaining independent and impartial. The Purpose of our writing this letter is to bring to the attention of your office how badly the magistrate has behaved in this matter and seek your intervention,” stated Mumba’s lawyers.
But in an interview, Bishop Mambo said the President should have acted immediately Mumba was convicted because there was no criminal offence which he committed.
“There was no criminal offence whatsoever to warrant Dr Nevers Mumba to have to spend even a minute in prison. It is uncalled for. This being a christian nation, the President should have immediately acted. This is why we are saying that there is need for us to move ahead with dialogue by the Commonwealth. The President is calling upon the other organisation which is local to do that, but do we have the capacity? The sooner we have that dialogue, the better. We cannot claim to be a christian nation. The other day in the newspaper, one of Nevers Mumba’s son in the Lord wrote to say ‘I doubt if Zambia is a christian nation’. Dr Mumba is a very powerful evangelist, he is a ground believer [and] he does not deserve that,” Bishop Mambo said.
“My appeal to the President, pardon Nevers Mumba. Nevers Mumba has been on record wanting to unite the country. He just re-launched ‘Zambia Shall be Saved’, he has called ministers to his home to counsel them, he has told them where they have gone wrong expect he cannot come out. He is one person who has put Zambia first [and] he does not deserve this. He does not deserve to be in prison, not for what he did. Freedom of movement, and he is a former vice-president you cannot do that, he has got a family.”
Meanwhile, Bishop Mambo called on the three church mother bodies to speak out.
“The three mother bodies and many others must speak out. Where is the minister of National Guidance and Religious Affairs if she cannot come and say ‘your Excellence I think here we are making a mistake’? We must have compassion as Christians. The man was arrested over Easter? It is uncalled for. A christian must have shame, put God first and not what they are doing,” said Mambo.