The Felix Mutati MMD faction has lost two applications in the Lusaka High Court in which the party wanted the court to order leave to amend their defence and another application for a writ of subpoena to compel a lawyer representing Nevers Mumba’s MMD group, Jeah Madaika, to appear as their witness.
This is in the case in which acting National Secretary for Dr Mumba faction, Winnie Zaloumis, sued Mutati’s faction seeking a declaration that the convention which saw the election of Mutati as MMD president was illegal.
In their application for subpoena, Mutati’s lawyer Jonas Zimba stated that the application for leave to amend the defence was necessary in order to avoid multiplicity of actions because the Constitutional Court had earlier indicated that it had no jurisdiction to hear the three issues that they had filed as counter claims.
On the issue of an application to subpoena the Dr Mumba’s lawyer to stand as their witness, it was submitted that the said application was necessary to enable them to clarify the legal opinion that was given by Madaika as it was the basis upon which the issues in this matter were premised.
But Judge Sharon Newa has refused to grant Mutati’s lawyers an order to amend their defence which includes the counter claim, on grounds that it would, among other issues, promote forum shopping and multiplicity of actions which the courts have frowned upon.
Judge Newa has also refused to grant Mutati’s faction an order to issue a writ of subpoena to compel Madaika to appear as their witness because a lawyer-client relationship must be protected in order that the client can fully disclose information to the lawyer without fear that it will be divulged.
She has further ruled that it consequently follows that any communication between a lawyer and a client should not be divulged unless the client waives that privilege and will also, however, not apply in further notice of a criminal activity.
Judge Newa adds that in this matter, legal opinion that Madaika gave the MMD is before court and being a legal opinion, “it is just an opinion and it relates to the civil proceedings”.
“The application to issue the subpoena fails and it is dismissed with costs to the plaintiffs to be taxed in default or agreement,” judge Newa ruled.
The matter comes up on June 7 for commencement of defence.