By CHIKUMBI KATEBE

 

INCARCERATED opposition UPND president Hakainde Hichilema has asked the Lusaka High Court to stay proceedings pending an appeal against a ruling concerning the right to be heard application before Justice Mwila Chitabo.

This was after Justice Chitabo rejected the UPND application to recuse himself from hearing the matter before him.

Mr Hichilema, together with his vice president for administration Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba, have since filed a memorandum of appeal before the Su-preme Court.

They have submitted nine grounds of appeal in which they accused the judge of bias or perceived bias against them in relation to the manner he handled himself prior to the 16th December 2016 hearing of the case.

They accused the judge of suggesting that they were to blame for the riots that happened at the Judiciary grounds on 15th December 2016 when he should have addressed the consequences that led to the events.

“The court below erred in law and in fact when it dismissed the appellant’s ap-plication on the ground that it was entitled to take judicial notice of the events that occurred on 15th December, 2016, and it consequently attribute them to the appellants,” Mr Hichilema said. He explained that the judge ‘‘fell in grave error’’ when he refused to recuse himself from hearing the UPND right to be heard case when he said there was no legal backing to that effect.

The opposition leaders have accused Judge Chitabo of ignoring the Judicial Code of Conduct which required him to recuse himself when there was a complaint against him, especially in relation to the issue of impartiality.

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