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Nothing at law stops DP operating – lawyers

(By Namatama Njekwa and Marilyn Rose)

LAWYERS for Harry Kalaba’s Democratic Party have stated that there is nothing at law that prevents the party from continuing its normal day-to-day activities and operations.

And Eddie Mwitwa of Musa Mwenye has asked the Attorney General Likando Kalaluka to prevail upon his client to desist from issuing misleading statements or interfering with the operations of the party failure to which, the DP will have no option but commence contempt proceedings and to seek other appropriate orders of the court.

According to a letter addressed to the Attorney General dated February 4, 2019, Democratic Party lawyers Mwenye and Mwitwa Advocates, stated that the statement issued by Ministry of Homes Affairs public relations officer Nephas Chifuta on February 2 to the effect that the Court of Appeal had issued a stay of execution that had reinstated the Registrar of Societies’ decision to cancel the registration of the party was false and misleading.

“As your office is no doubt aware, this position is false and calculated to deliberately mislead and is therefore, contemptuous of the proceedings currently before the courts of law,” Eddie Mwitwa said.

He said the correct position was that on September 6, 2018, the High Court quashed the Registrar’s decision that deregistered the DP.

“Your client applied for a stay of execution of the judgment, and in its ruling of the 29th January 2019, the High Court refused to stay the decision that quashed the Registrar’s decision. As a matter of fact, the court stated the following ‘Therefore, with regard the order f certiorari, as rightly submitted by counsel for the applicant, this order cannot be stayed as doing so would be to reverse the said order. On that basis, I decline to grant the stay of execution as regards the order certiorari’,” Mwitwa said.

He said the decision of the Registrar that was quashed remained quashed and there was nothing at law that prevents DP from continuing its normal day-to-day activities and operations.

“It is therefore, misleading and contemptuous for your client to intimate that the order of the Registrar of Societies has been reinstated. This is therefore to demand that you prevail upon tour client to desist from issuing similar misleading statements or interfering with the operations of our client failure to which our client will have no option but commence contempt proceedings and to seek other appropriate orders from this court,” read Mwitwa’s letter.

“We have every confidence that as chief legal advisor to the government and the leader of the Zambia bar, you will prevail upon your client to desist from similar conduct in future. Please acknowledge safe receipt by signing copy hereof.”

On Saturday, the government asked Harry Kalaba’s Democratic Party to cease conducting any political activities across the country until the Court of Appeal orders otherwise over its deregistration.

The ministry explained that the Democratic Party had sued government through the Attorney General on the basis that the Registrar of Societies rejected to issue their party a duplicate Certificate of Registration despite having paid the annual subscription fees during the amnesty period.

It said the matter proceeded before the High Court which ruled in favour of the Democratic Party.

“Being dissatisfied with the High Court ruling, the Attorney General appealed before the Court of Appeal which has now issued a stay of execution of the High Court judgment, thus, reinstating the decision of the Registrar of Societies pending full determination of the matter before the courts of law,” it said, according to a statement issued by the Ministry’s public relations officer Nephas Chifuta. “In view of this current status quo, the Democratic Party is advised to forthwith cease to conduct any political activities across the country until the Court of Appeal orders otherwise. The Ministry of Home Affairs in its quest to ensure that law and order is maintained, respectfully appeals to the deregistered Democratic Party to adhere to the stay as any violation to this order shall be met with the full force of the Law.”

But DP spokesperson Judith Kabemba said during a media briefing in Kitwe yesterday that

from the false statements that had been released, it was evident that the Patriotic Front government wanted the DP deregistered.

She said this was because the DP was working hard in ensuring that it gains popularity in readiness for the 2021 general elections

She said issuing such a statement clearly indicated that the ministry was being run by ruling PF cadres.

“We wonder how the ministry has been quick to issue a statement and announce that the DP should cease to conduct any political activities across the country until the Court of Appeal orders even when the ruling was that the decision to deregister the DP remained certified and was not stayed. The ruling made on 29th January 2019 by Judge Sharon Newa makes the DP validly registered and it’s free to operate and that the ruling was at High Court and not the Court of Appeals. DP is disappointed how a simple writing can be misinterpreted by officials and custodians of the Ministry of Home Affairs,” said Kabemba.

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