By GRACE CHAILE
THE Constitutional Court has issued a 10-days ultimatum within which the Attorney General should file an answer and affidavit in support of answer by February 2, 2024, in a matter President Hakainde Hichilema is alleged to have habitually used insulting language.
These varied orders of directions issued by Justice Mungeni Mulenga arise from the failure by the Attorney General Mulilo Kabesha, to file his affidavit in opposition to the petition by December 19, 2023.
Judge Mulenga has also ordered that the petitioner, Patriots for Economic Progress (PeP) president, Mr Sean Tembo must file his reply and serve the Attorney General by February 8, 2024.
In this matter, Mr Tembo cited an example of the President’s use of the Bemba word referred to former President Edgar Lungu as “kutumpa uko” in reference to the latter’s ambitions to return to active politics.
Mr Tembo explained that the Bemba words “kutumpa uko” in English according to the White Fathers’ Bemba-English Dictionary that was published by the Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland Joint Publications Bureau in 1954 mean “being stupid.”
The petitioner cited other insults allegedly issued by the President and said Mr Hichilema was demeaning to the values and principles of Zambia as a Christian Nation.
He wants the court’s declaration that Mr Hichilema’s use of the Bemba word “ukuponoka” which the petitioner claims means “pulling the foreskin of the manhood backwards” when translated into English lacks decency, respect for the people of Zambia, respect for the diversity of different communities including the Bemba-speaking people of Northern Province.
He said the use of the said word contravenes Articles 91(3) (a), 91(3)(d) and 91(3)(f) of the Constitution of Zambia And another declaration that the use of the same word violates professional ethics and integrity and contravenes Article 173(1) (a) of the Constitution of Zambia.