There was drama in court on Monday as Dr Nevers Mumba abandoned the court session after his witnesses strayed during cross examination, turning the court into a comedy as laughter characterised the entire open court session.
The situation forced Judge Newa to continuously admonish the witnesses and the court audience for the circus that ensued.
A visibly annoyed Nevers Mumba could not stomach the testimony of his witnesses as he walked out in the middle of cross examination.
Nevers Mumba was heard telling Reuben Sambo his vice president who was seated with a witness from Kalulushi in the corridors that he was leaving the court as his witnesses were not coordinating.
“I cannot stay in this court, these people are not coordinating, they are embarrassing us. Instead of sticking to the talking points they are cracking jokes in court. How come these people are not working with what we couched them. These witnesses are implicating us, with the way things are going we shall loose everything.”
Reuben Sambo who had hastily arranged witnesses who were the discomfort of Dr Mumba as counsel Madaika had indicated that they had remained with one more witness on Friday a week before, protested the decision by Nevers Mumba to leave as it would scare the remaining witness.
“Ba Pastor, you cannot leave, what will happen with the last remaining witness, I have told him what is happening in court and he may be our last hope to salvage the situation as you know how badly we have all performed, you are the leader here.”
Nevers Mumba refused to stay as he walked to the car park as every one in his faction went with him to the car park among them Elizabeth Chitika as a way of abandoning the court hearing where he told them go back to court.
“Go and finish, you want to all walk out, remain and manage this, Reuben and Elizabeth that’s why you are here. Wait until it’s done, we can’t all be out.”
The discomfort for Dr Mumba started when the first witness Denson Chisunka conceded that the tenure of NEC members was five years and that all NEC members who were elected in 2011 including those who were filling casual vacancies during that tenure, ended in 2016.
Chisunka also agreed that the procedure which was undertaken during the 2016 Convention was correct except that the members that agitated for the convention were not in good standing with the party.
When asked if he had at any point served under the same NEC with Eastern province chairperson Jacob Mwanza who proposed the lifting of standing orders at the 2016 convention, he replied in the affirmative saying the answer was yes with an explanation.
He was also asked whether he served in the same NEC with North Western province chairperson Danny Mikosa who seconded Jacob Mwanza’s proposal at the convention he equally affirmed.
Michael Kashinka a purported chairperson for southern province also confirmed what Chisunka had said and further that adding Jeah Madaika whose Nevers Mumba’s lawyer in this case was present at the January 30 2016 controversial NEC meeting which was discussing among other issues the holding of the due regular convention.
And when asked if it was prudent that the other lawyers who had given their opinion on the matter of the convention, should have been present at the meeting just like Madaika kashinka said “of course all of them should have been given the opportunity to be present their opinions in the meeting.”
The question of the legal opinion has continuously risen in cross examination, and facts relating to the issue are that the party solicited for legal opinions from four senior lawyers among them a legal counsel for the party through the then National Secretary Mwansa Mbulakulima namely Bonaventure Mutale SC, Sunday Bwalya Nkonde SC, Mutemwa Mutemwa and Friday Besa.
The lawyers explicitly told the party that it was in their considered expert legal opinion that the tenure of office for the NEC which was elected in 2011 was coming to an end in 2016, therefore necessitating for the holding of a regular convention for all office bearers to seek a fresh mandate from the membership.
It is from the legal opinions of the four senior lawyers which did not favor Nevers Mumba that Nevers Mumba dubiously went to solicit for a fifth legal opinion from a junior lawyer Jeah Madaika who he has since been retained as his legal counsel.
Contrary to the opinions of the senior lawyers Madaika was of the view that the convention could be deferred to 2017 so that it coincides with Nevers Mumba’s term which he until now claims was ending in 2017.
Madaika was further invited by Nevers Mumba to the NEC meeting where he went to present his legal opinion in the absence of the senior lawyers who had been engaged by the party to give legal opinion including the legal counsel for the party Friday Besa.
Meanwhile, documents obtained reveal that one of Nevers Mumba’s witnesses Denson Chisunka’s interim appointment as Copperbelt province chairperson was revoked one month later after his appointment on November 21 2014 by Nevers Mumba himself and replaced him with Moses Mumba through the then National Secretary Muhabi Lungu. The matter came up in the continued trial in which Nevers Mumba’s acting national secretary Winnie Zaloumis has challenged the legality of the May 20 Convention which elected Felix Mutati and the new MMD executive. Trial in the high court has been adjourned to February 18.