By KAUNGA MWAPE
LUSAKA lawyer Makebi Zulu says it is unconstitutional for President Hakainde Hichilema to ask the High Court to recall the case in which he and five others are asking for compensation from the state for unlawful persecution in the case of treason.
President Hichilema and five others have asked the High Court to recall the case in which they are seeking compensation from the state for their alleged unlawful persecution.
Mr. Hichilema, Hammonde Hamaleka, Accountant Lason Mulilanduba, farmer Prestorious Haloba, Farmer Wallace Chakawa, business executive, sued the state for persecution after they were charged with treason.
But Mr. Zulu says according to the law all cases either criminal or civil cannot be continued once one becomes a President.
He has indicated that in this instance, the case can continue for the others aside the President himself.
President Hichilema and five others have applied in the Lusaka High Court to restore to the active cause list the matter where they have sued the State claiming compensatory damages during their arrest for treason charges in 2017.
On September 14, this year, High Court Judge Pixie Yangailo struck off the matter from the active cause list after lawyers representing the six and the State in the case both failed to appear for a hearing.
Ms Yangailo said that it was a clear indication that both parties were not willing to prosecute the case despite being served the notice of hearing.
However, Mr Hichilema and his co complainants’ lawyer, Kamwanga Phiri of Malambo and Co, told the court that he could not attend the hearing because he was in self quarantine for Covid-19.
Mr Phiri in an affidavit in support of ex parte summons for an order to restore matter to the active cause list explained that he came into contact with a person who tested positive for Covid-19, thus was forced to isolate.
He stated that when the matter came up for hearing on September 14, he was still in quarantine.
He added that he had requested a colleague to attend the hearing on his behalf, but could not make it on time as she was attending to a matter set for 08:30 hours.
“That the plaintiffs’ herein is desirous to proceed with the hearing of the matter on the merits and I verily believe that no prejudice will be occasioned to defendant should this honourable court grant the plaintiffs an order restoring the matter to the active cause list.”
“That prior to the status conference, we failed to obtain instructions from the plaintiffs, especially the first plaintiff who has been busy attending to matters of national duty in his new role as the Republican President,” he stated.
Mr Phiri stated that Mr Hichilema and others wish to proceed with the matter and have it heard on its merits.
Mr Hichilema and his party members namely Hamaleka, Haloba, Chakwa, Mulilanduba and Hachinda want the Court to order Government to pay compensatory damages equivalent in value to monies lost and the property that was looted, damaged and destroyed at his home during what he termed as an unlawful operation to arrest him on charges of treason carried out on April 10 and 11 in 2017.