THE Lusaka High Court has granted MMD vice-president for administration Brian Chituwo and his political affairs counterpart Michael Kaingu leave to commence contempt proceedings against party president Nevers Mumba and 37 national executive committee (NEC) members for defying a court order.
High Court judge Eddie Sikazwe allowed Dr Chituwo and Dr Kaingu to start contempt proceedings against Dr Mumba and others after reading Dr Kaingu’s affidavit filed in the Lusaka High Court yesterday.
This is in a case in which Dr Kaingu and Dr Chituwo were granted an order restraining Dr Mumba and other party members from holding a NEC meeting but the MMD president allegedly refused to accept the order and proceeded with the meeting.
Dr Chituwo sued MMD deputy national secretary Chembe Nyangu in his capacity as acting party national secretary.
“Upon hearing counsel for the plaintiffs [Dr Kaingu and Dr Chituwo] and upon reading the affidavit of Dr Kaingu, it is ordered that leave to commence contempt proceedings against Dr Mumba and 37 NEC members be and is hereby granted and that costs be in the cause,” Mr Justice Sikazwe said.
This is according to an ex parte order for leave to commence contempt proceedings against Dr Mumba obtained by the Daily Mail yesterday.
In his affidavit, Dr Kaingu said Dr Mumba and the 37 NEC members defied the court order preventing them from convening the NEC meeting to elect the party national secretary.
He said in disregard of the court order, the 38 party members went ahead to have the meeting which elected Dr Mumba’s spokesperson Muhabi Lungu as national secretary.
Dr Kaingu said the court ordered that the MMD should not proceed with the meeting until determination of the matter but Dr Mumba and others went on to convene despite having been communicated to about the order.
“The action to go ahead and convene was a deliberate act of disobedience of this honourable court order and calculated to prejudice the administration of justice and lowered this court’s dignity and authority, which amounts to contempt of court,” he said.
And wrangles in the MMD have taken a new twist with Mr Lungu slapping gross indiscipline charges on Dr Kaingu and Dr Chituwo.
In a letter dated April 28, 2014 addressed to Dr Kaingu and Dr Chituwo obtained the Daily Mail yesterday, Mr Lungu has issued a 10-day ultimatum in which the two, along with spokesperson Dora Siliya, former Solwezi member of Parliament Lucky Mulusa and national youth secretary Tobias Kafumukache should exculpate themselves.
The letter was also copied to Dr Mumba, national chairman Kabinga Pande and chairperson for legal affairs Bradford Machila.
“In view of the seriousness of the charges levelled against you, you are, therefore, required to submit an exculpatory statement in defence within 10 days from the date of this letter in conformity with regulation 9 (2) of the disciplinary regulations – 1993.
“Failure to comply will result in stern disciplinary action to be taken against you,” the letter reads in part.
Mr Lungu later said in an interview yesterday that the MMD will not tolerate indiscipline and that members are expected to adhere to the party constitution.
He also said he will issue a circular instructing members to seek approval from relevant authorities before holding press conferences at the party secretariat
But Dr Kaingu said the letter is frivolous and a product of an illegal meeting.
Dr Kaingu said he has handed over the letter to his lawyer Milner Katolo.