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Given Lubinda refuses to take a plea in breach of parliamentary privileges case

Justice Minister Given Lubinda

The Vice President of the Patriotic Front, Given Lubinda, declined to enter a plea in the Lusaka Magistrate Court where he faces charges of breaching parliamentary privileges. According to the allegations, Lubinda failed to appear before a Parliamentary Committee between December 2021 and June 2022 after being summoned by Speaker of the National Assembly, Nelly Muti.

The charges against Lubinda stem from his criticism of Speaker Muti’s decision to expel nine Parliamentarians whose election results were nullified by the High Court. Lubinda was taken into custody on May 16, 2023, following the allegations.

During the proceedings at the Lusaka Magistrate Court, Lubinda opted not to enter a plea, arguing that his charge has become obsolete due to the passage of time, as per Section 219 of the Criminal Procedure Code. Lubinda’s defense lawyer, Jonas Zimba, further contended that Section 219 of the Criminal Procedure Code imposes a time limit for bringing offenses to court for summary trial.

Based on these legal arguments, Lubinda asserted that the Magistrate Court lacks jurisdiction to prosecute his case. In response, the state requested an adjournment to allow sufficient time to examine the matter thoroughly.

Consequently, the court adjourned the proceedings to June 27, 2023, when further deliberations on the case are expected to take place.