By Mwaka Ndawa
PRESIDENT Hakainde Hichilema has cancelled the K2.2 million debt owed to him by Kalomo farmer Misheck Hambwalula in legal costs.
The Constitution of Zambia, as amended in 2016, forbids a sitting President from suing anyone in his private capacity.
Article 98(2) states that: ‘’The President shall not, in the President’s private capacity during the tenure of office as President, institute or continue civil proceedings against a person.’’
Recently, the Livingstone High Court ordered Hambwalula to pay President Hichilema’s legal costs after it dismissed the land dispute between the two.
President Hichilema’s lawyer Marshal Muchende in a letter dated September 8, 2021 asked the Sheriff of Zambia in Livingstone to set aside the execution of the writ of fifa against Hambwalula.
A writ of fifa is a document issued by the clerk of court directing the sheriff to obtain a judgement sum out of property of a judgement debtor.
Hambwalula who regretted his actions is scheduled to meet President Hichilema for conciliation.
The Livingstone High Court condemned Hambwalula to costs after dismissing the matter in which he sued President Hichilema whilst he was in opposition on allegations that the latter illegally possessed 1,500 hectors of his late father’s farm 21 years ago.
Hambwalula was seeking an order that the alleged sale of Farm No. 3275 and 801 in Kalomo to President Hichilema is a nullity for failing to comply with the intestate succession Act.
The complainant also filed the same case against the Head of State in the Lusaka High Court, seeking an order for possession of Farm No. 3275, 801 and 803.
He also filed an order of injunction restraining President Hichilema, his servants and agents from carrying out farming activities, erecting structures, cutting down trees and entering on the farms and interfering with the beneficiaries’ quiet enjoyment.
But Lusaka High Court judge Susan Wanjelani threw out the case in July this year for want of prosecution.
And according to a certificate of taxation, Muchende on behalf of President Hichilema demanded that Hambwalula paid K2, 256, 322.53 for costs as ordered by the Livingstone High Court, on August 30, 2021.
However, Muchende, on behalf of the President, has written off Hambwalula’s debt after the latter rendered an apology and directed the sheriff not to grab his property in order to settle the K2.2 million debt.
“We advise that you suspend the execution of the writ of fieri facias (fi.fa.) vide Article 98(2) of the Constitution of Zambia Act no.2 of 2016. The Plaintiff has since apologised and the Republican President (who was the Defendant) has called on the family to meet to resolve the issue amicably,” read the letter.
The letter was also copied to acting chief justice Michael Musonda and presiding judge Bridget Maka-Phiri.