LUSAKA High Court Judge, Mwila Chitabo has declined to recuse himself from handling a matter in which United Party for National Development (UPND), leader Hakainde Hichilema wants the court to determine whether his rights to be heard in the Presidential petition were violated.
Mr Justice Chitabo said he will be in charge and in control of the proceedings and has set May 16, 2017 as a day he will sit to hear Attorney General, Likando Kalaluka’s notice of intention to raise preliminary issues.Judgement
He said that the ‘guns’ that have been turned on him by Mr Hichilema and his vice president Geoffrey Mwamba should have been directed at the highest institution of the judiciary constituting the office of the Chief Justice.
“On the foregoing and in conclusion, I hold that the petitioners have palpably failed to establish their indictment of bias, animosity, prejudice or other charges. The application fails and it is hereby dismissed”, Mr Justice Chitabo said.
Mr Justice Chitabo said that he had microscopically dissected, analyzed the allegations and found no basis to sustain even remotely the charge of bias.
He said if Mr Hichilema and Mr Mwamba had tracked subjective perception that he is biased, he should not even have presided over the recusal application as he could not have been the one handling the matter.
In this matter, Mr Hichilema and Mr Mwamba citing the attorney general want the Lusaka High Court to determine whether or not the Constitutional Court violated their rights when it dismissed their Presidential petition.
The constitutional court on September 5, 2016 dismissed their petition after they failed to present evidence to the court that their votes were stolen 14 days after they had filed it.
The opposition UPND leaders however filed a fresh motion in the High Court seeking determination whether their rights were violated by the constitutional court.
Mr Hichilema and Mr Mwamba later asked Mr Justice Chitabo who is handling the matter to recuse himself for alleged biasness.
Among the issues they raised were that Mr Justice Chitabo ‘s alleged failure to commence hearing of their petition on December 15, 2017, that he acted unconventionally by resorting to writing to the parties indefinitely suspending the delivery of the ruling on the petitioners notice to object to preliminary issues indefinitely.
But Mr Justice Chitabo said all the allegations against him did not hold merit as he did not need a judicial inquiry for him to comprehend what was happening as he witnessed part of the intimidating drama bythe UPPD supporters.
He declined Mr Hichilema and Mr Mwamba’s belief that during the pendency of the complaint there existed a conflict of interest between them and the court saying the predicament the petitioners found themselves in was self inflicting.