CAROLINE KALOMBE, Lusaka
LAWYERS representing Patriotic Front (PF) party president Edgar Lungu now want the High Court to first deal with the case in which presidential hopeful Miles Sampa has been charged with contempt for allegedly ignoring a court order not to proceed with the general conference, where he was elected president.
On Tuesday, Mr Sampa, Kasama member of Parliament (MP) Geoffrey Mwamba and former diplomat Salemani Phangula filed an application to stay execution of a consent judgment delivered by the High Court declaring Minister of Justice Edgar Lungu as president of the PF.
In this case, the High Court had granted an injunction restraining eight PF officials from holding another general conference, whichÂ elected MrÂ Sampa as PF president.
The eight are former secretary general Bridget Atanga,Â deputy secretary general Anthony Kasolo, chairperson for elections Sylvia Masebo, Southern Province Minister Daniel Munkombwe, returning officer Germano Kaulungâ€™ombe, president claimant Mr Sampa, MrÂ Mwamba and Captain Phangula.
Mr Sampa has also asked the court to join the case, where a consent judgment was granted declaring Mr Lungu as president of the party as intended intervener.
According to an affidavit in support of inter parte summons to stay proceedings, PF national chairperson Inonge Wina has asked the court to stop the proceedings until the contempt proceedings have been concluded.
Mrs Wina asked the court to order that the intended interveners cannot be allowed to seek any redress before it pending determination of the proceedings in line with the law on contempt.
She said according to the rules of the Supreme Court contemnors are prohibited from being heard until contempt allegations have been determined.
â€œThe record will show none of the contemnors have purged their contempt, therefore, as guided by the law; they should not be heard relating to this matter until the contempt proceedings are determined,â€ Mrs Wina said.
She added that the alleged contemnors have continued to justify the legality of the December 1 general conference despite the injunction that restrained it and the consent judgment that affirmed the injunction.
And Mr Kaulungâ€™ombe admitted that the court order restraining delegates at the December 1 general conference from electing another president was served on the PF leadership five hours before voting began.
He said he did not make the declaration that Mr Sampa was president of the PF after voting had closed because he was aware of the court injunction.
â€œI never declared any candidate as duly elected Patriotic Front president and news clips are evidence enough to confirm that no such declaration was ever made by me,â€ Mr Kaulungâ€™ombe said.
He added that the December 1 general conference was not duly constituted as it failed to form a quorum.
CAROLINE KALOMBE, Lusaka