DP moves to sue Chifuta for contempt over “misleading press statement”

Lawyers representing Democratic Party national secretary Precious Ntambu have written to Attorney General Likando Kalaluka, advising him to tame Home Affairs Spokesperson Nephas Chifuta against interfering with party operations.

On Saturday, Chifuta had issued a statement ordering the Democratic Party to cease from conducting any political activities on grounds that the State had obtained a stay of execution against the High Court ruling on the existence if the opposition party.

But in a letter representing Ntambu, Mwenye & Mwitwa Advocates stated that even the Attorney General was aware that Chifuta’s statement was false and contemptuous.

“Re: Precious Ntambu (Suing as National Secretary for the Democratic Party) v The Attorney General-2018/HP/1113. We refer to the above captioned matter. on the 2nd of February 2019, Mr Nephas Chufuta a Public Relations Officer at the Ministry of Home Affairs issued a statement to the press and the public in general to the effect that the court of Appeal had issued a stay of execution that had reinstated the Registrar of Societies’ decision to cancel the Registration of our client, the Democratic Party. As your office is no doubt aware, this position is false and calculated to deliberately mislead and is therefore contemptuous of the proceedings currently before the courts of law,” Mwenye & Mwitwa Advocates stated.

“The correct position is that on 6th of September 2018, the High Court squashed the Registrar’s decision that deregistered the Democratic Party. Your client applied for a stay of execution of the judgement, and in its Ruling, of the 29th January 2019, the High Court refused to stay the decision that squashed the Registrar’s decision. As a matter of fact, the court stated the following; ‘Therefore with regard the order of Certiorari, as rightly submitted by Counsel for the Applicant this order cannot be stayed as doing so would be to reverse the said order. On that basis, I decline to grant the stay of execution as regards the order certiorari’.”

Mwenye & Mwitwa Advocates urged AG Kalaluka to tame Chifuta or else the party would be forced to commence contempt proceedings against the official.

“The decision of the Registrar that was quashed, remains quashed and there is nothing, at law that prevents our client from continuing its normal day to day activities and operations. It is therefore misleading and contemptuous for your client to intimate that the order of the Registrar of Societies has been reinstated. This is therefore to demand that you prevail upon your client to desist from issuing similar misleading statements or interfering with the operations of our client, failure to which our client will have no option but commencing contempt proceedings and to seek other appropriate orders from the Court. We have every confidence that as the Chief Legal Advisor to the Government and the leader of the Zambian bar, you will prevail upon your client to desist from similar conduct in future,” stated Mwenye & Mwitwa Advocates.

Meanwhile, speaking when he featured on Diamond Television’s show dubbed Costa, Kalaba said Chifuta’s allegations that the Democratic Party was non-existent, was a discouragement to party supporters.

“That issue of the Democratic Party being de-registered, that thing is just a fluke. It’s fake, it is not the Ministry of Home Affairs that can tell us whether we have been de-registered or not. If we are de-registered, I am aspiring to become President and if we were de-registered, I would be the first one to ensure that our members are told ‘keep quiet for now, we are fighting these things in court. This has been the court’s decision’, so they won’t even have to tell us. The Ministry of Home Affairs de-registered us, and we went to court. But here is what happened, there is what they call a writ of certiorari as well as a mandamus. We won both of those on the 6th of September, in June we were deregistered and 6th September, judge Sharon Newa said the de-registration process was not right. So now the entire Ministry of Home Affairs fails to understand what a writ of certiorari is,” Kalaba said.

Kalaba told Chifuta to read and understand things before issuing statements.

“DP is a registered political party and if there is an injunction restraining it from operating, you don’t just issue a statement. These are serious matters, where is the injunction? Don’t just talk! Read! Understand what a certificate of certiorari is, what an appeal of mandamus is. When you understand these things, then you will be speaking with a lot of competence. Don’t just talk the talk and issue a statement saying ‘we have done this’… anyway, the Democratic Party is proceeding to commence contempt proceeding against that officer who was issuing that statement. Unless he shows us that injunction which he has, because that is discouraging our members. It is meant to drain the efforts our members, as you know DP is a new kid on the blog, watch the space,” he said.

Meanwhile, Kalaba said the PF leadership was broken and must not be allowed to govern beyond 2021.

“The moment we allow the PF to continue beyond 2021, we might as well close this country because it will be free for all. Everything will collapse, right now systems can’t even talk to one another. Someone can’t get a title deed at Ministry of Lands unless they bribe somebody. Things can’t work unless you push, even the term pushing has come in. But why should you push when you’ve got a civil servant or a politician who is paid for doing the work? The politicians we have are more interested in their own businesses. They are businessmen that we have in the current PF,” said Kalaba.

“It is true that in 2015 I supported President Lungu because at the time it was the right to do… President Lungu is not a bad man and we have not even differed with him but I have only differed with him on the fact that he has betrayed the very fundamentals that he shouldn’t betray.”

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