Saturday, October 10, 2009

Court summons Post editor

Court summons Post editor
Written by George Chellah
Saturday, October 10, 2009 4:33:26 PM

ARREST me and take me to any prison of your choice, Post editor-in-chief Fred M'membe yesterday told two police officers and a clerk of court who came to serve him with summons. This was after a clerk of court - criminal, Kasonde Joseph Simute and two police officers from Kabwata police station a Mr Chisoso and Simushi came to Post Newspapers offices around 08:40 hours to serve M'membe with "summons to accused".

Kasonde and the two police officers were ushered into Post news editor Chansa Kabwela's office where M'membe met and welcomed the team.

Upon taking their seats, Kasonde explained his mission to M'membe who was in the company of Post managing editor Amos Malupenga, Post administrative manager Reuben Phiri and Kabwela.

“Actually, I have just come for one purpose to serve the summons. One to The Post newspaper then the other one is directed to Mr Fred M'membe, I think it's yourself and then the other one is directed to Sam Mujuda [Post deputy editor-in-chief],” Kasonde said.

Immediately Kasonde finished explaining, M'membe chipped in: "There is a problem on Mr Mujuda you may have to go and serve him in London. He is away for studies. He is doing his masters degree in journalism there. In fact, he was delayed; he was supposed to have left much earlier, he was waiting for the judgment of the court. After the High Court judgment that's when he left. But because of that issue that was still in court he couldn't leave.”

M'membe then told Kasonde and team that he could not understand what was going on.

In response, Kasonde said: "Actually sir, we are just agents of the court."

"Sorry to address you, I am just telling know nothing about this. It's not your issue," M'membe told Kasonde.

M'membe said he knows that they are after his neck.

"But let them find better ways to crucify me. I am ready to walk myself to Calvary. I have nothing to fear, if it's arresting they want, even today arrest and take me. Even today just arrest and take me whether it's Mukobeko, Chimbokaila... I am ready," M'membe said.

"If it's arresting they want, if it's victimising they want, if it's punishing they want...I have been in prison before. They locked me in Chimbokaila for one month. I stayed there until the then High Court judge Kabazo Chanda freed me from the unjust incarceration. They had imprisoned me without trial and they had demanded contrition from me for my release. They didn't get it because I owed them none."

M'membe said he has been in prison before without trial.

"I have been in prison without being tried. So instead of wasting the court's time there are so many cases pending of our brothers and sisters who are languishing in prison because there is no enough courtroom, there are few magistrates. Let them just lock me up without even wasting anybody's time. I am ready to move with you to any prison of your choice," M'membe said.

"I am not scared of going to prison. I am not even scared of death, after all we will all die. So prison doesn't deter a person like me. I am ready to proceed with handcuffs or no handcuffs, I am ready to move with you."

M'membe said he was not a common criminal.

"The person you should be pursuing is Chiluba who has stolen people's money. But they are not pursuing him they are defending him a criminal, kabolala, lazo. This is not the way to run a country. These things will backfire and I am very confident of that, that one day, I don't know the actual day, but it will backfire one day."

Later, Kasonde asked where they could leave the summons for the company secretary and M'membe advised him to deliver them to Central Chambers who are Post Newspapers Limited's company secretaries.

According to the summons to accused delivered at The Post dated October 8, 2009, M'membe was ordered to appear before magistrate Simusamba on October 14, 2009.

"In the subordinate court of First Class for the Lusaka district, holden at Lusaka. To: FRED M'MEMBE-EDITOR IN CHIEF Of: THE POST NEWSPAPERS LIMITED-LUSAKA. WHEREAS your attendance is necessary to answer to a complaint of Contempt of Court contrary to section 116(1)(d)(i) of the penal code chapter 87 of the Laws of Zambia. Statement of Offence: CONTEMPT OF COURT contrary to section 116(1)(d)(i) of the penal code chapter 87 of the Laws of Zambia," read the summons to accused in part. "Particulars of Offence: FRED M'MEMBE, SAM MUJUDA AND THE POST NEWSPAPERS LIMITED on 27th day of August 2009 at Lusaka in the Lusaka District of the Lusaka Province of the Republic of Zambia, being Editor in Chief of The Post Newspapers Ltd, Deputy Editor in Chief, and the publisher respectively jointly and whilst acting together, did publish or cause to be published in The Post Newspaper No. 4697 dated 27th August 2009 an article touching the case of the People Versus Chanda Kabwela titled: "The Chansa Kabwela Case: a Comedy of errors," knowing the said case is the subject of criminal proceedings in court, an act which is contemptuous, sensational and prejudicial to the said proceedings. You are hereby commanded in the name of the President to appear in person. Before this court at 09:00 on the 14th day of October 2009 and on every adjournment of the court until the case be disposed of. Issued at Lusaka the 8th day of October 2009."

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