The Kitwe High Court has granted an application by UPND president Hakainde Hichilema to stay (stop) the carrying out of a bench warrant issued against him earlier in the week.
This does not mean that the bench warrant has been revoked but means that the police will not arrest Hichilema for now or until the court decides whether to revoke it or not.Hichilema’s lawyers will now ask the court to set aside the bench warrant.
Kitwe High Court Judge-in-charge Catherine Makungu granted the application on Thursday late afternoon.
This is in the case in which Justice minister Wynter Kabimba and OP boss Mwanamwange are pushing the judiciary to lock up Hichilema for missing a court hearing.
Earlier in the day, Justice Makungu rejected an ex parte application by Mr Hichilema to set aside the bench warrant issued against him on grounds that the affidavit was defective and contained extraneous matters and was contrary to paragraph 5, rule number 15 of the High Court rules of the Laws of Zambia.
“Since the bench warrant was issued in open court with advocates from both sides present, it is in the interest of justice that all other parties be heard as regards to the application to set it aside,” Justice Makungu said.
She also noted that Shamwana and Company are the lead counsels in the matter where the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) is challenging the appointment of acting Chief Justice Lombe Chibesakunda and their co-advocates are from Muleza Mwiimbu and Company while others are from Freddie and Company .
“It is therefore regrettable that they have decided to represent the alleged contemnor. I am of the considered view that they should not be representing him in this case because this constitutes serious conflict of interest,” Mrs Makungu said.
She said the best was for the lawyers representing LAZ to remain neutral and advised them to withdraw from representing Mr Hichilema.