The Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Paul Mavima, risk a 90-day jail term after he was convicted of contempt of court by the High Court.
The High Court last week convicted Mavima and other officials from the Ministry of Education after they ignored the Court’s order for them to reinstate a female teacher, Patricia Chifodya, whose contract was terminated under unclear circumstances. The ruling to reinstate Chifodya was handed down by Justice Nicholas Mathonsi on September 19, 2018.
The Order committing Mavima and other Ministry officials to prison was handed down by High Court Judge Justice Clement Phiri. The four have been ordered to comply with the earlier High Court ruling within 7 days or be jailed for three months. Justice Phiri ruled that
The application for contempt of court is and is hereby granted. The respondents (Mavima and colleagues) are hereby ordered to purge their contempt by complying with paragraph 1, 2 and 3 of the court order in HC2650/15 within seven days of this order.
In the event that the first, second, third and fourth (permanent secretary in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, secretary for Primary and Secondary Education, PSC chairperson and Mavima) respondents have failed to comply with the above-mentioned paragraphs, they are hereby held to be in contempt of court and are hereby committed to civil imprisonment for a period of 90 days. Respondents are ordered to pay costs on a punitive scale.