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Nakacinda seeks court ruling on whether HH has immunity to comment on active court cases

By LUCY PHIRI

Raphael Nakacinda has asked the  Lusaka magistrate to refer his defemation case to the constitutional court to determine whether the President’s immunity includes commenting on cases that are active in court.

Nakacinda’s  lawyer, Makebi Zulu has applied for the matter to be referred to the Concourt to determine whether or not President Hakainde Hichilema’s immunity extends to referring to  court proceedings to comment on the matter before the court or whether or not the President was in breach of article 91(3) (a) (e) and article 121(2).

Mr Zulu said the President on April 25, 2022 at a Press conference made statements on Nakacinda, Patriotic Front (PF) Information and Publicity Chairperson, whilst the matter is still in court, he went on to say “ Nakacinda will pay for such lies” referring to the matter before the court.

He said according  to Section 116(b) of the Penal code cap 87 of the laws of Zambia, any person who while judicial proceedings are still active, makes comments is guilty of misdemeanor and is likely to be jailed for six months or pay a fine of K750 penalty.

Mr Zulu further said Mr Hichilema went beyond, to the extent of saying that Nakacinda “will pay”.

In response, the state prosecutor Abraham Ngozo said the application should be dismissed because was no contempt of court written and the subordinate court has jurisdiction to hear the matter.

He said the matter brought in court was defamation and can be heard in the same court.

“This is not a court of public opinion it is a court of records which represent facts, may we proceed with the matter has it already started,” he said.

However magistrate Jennifer Bwalya said she cannot deliver the ruling instantly  as she needs time to look whether or not the matter can be referred to the Concourt.

“I adjourn this matter to May 20, 2022 for ruling,” she said.

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