High Court restrains Tilyenji, 3 others from performing functions as UNIP MCCs

THE Lusaka High has stopped UNIP president Tilyenji Kaunda and his executive from performing any functions as members of central committee following the expiration of their tenure of office.

High Court judge Wilfred Muma has further directed that Tilyenji and his executive must only work towards organising the National Congress jointly with the interim executive committee.

Judge Muma granted an injunction to 11 UNIP members who sued party leader Tilyenji and others in the Lusaka High Court, restraining the executive committee from performing functions of members of central committee as their mandate expired in 2005.

Fackson Njovu and 10 others sued Kaunda, UNIP vice-president Njekwa Anamela, party secretary general Alfred Banda and administrative secretary Welfare Mfune, seeking an order that outgoing MCCs and the recognised interim MCCs follow the Registrar of Societies administrative directive to jointly organise and hold a congress by forming one working group.

Njobvu said that the defendants were also members of UNIP who were elected as members of central committee in 2000.

He contended that Tilyenji was elected president in 2001 while Anamela, Banda and Mfune were handpicked by Tilyenji as vice-president, secretary general and administrative secretary, respectively.

The complainant said that by virtue of the UNIP constitution, every five years the party was supposed to hold a congress which was the supreme decision making body to elect new members of the central committee,

Njobvu stated that the party held its last congress in 2000 where Tilyenji was elected as secretary general and a national council in 2001 where he was elected president during a by-election.

He claimed that Tilyenji’s mandate or any member of the central committee ended in 2005 and that no congress had been held to elect new leaders of the members of the central committee.

Njobvu said based on the foregoing, Tilyenji and others had held positions as MCCs illegally as their mandate expired in 2005.

He stated that the four defendants had been holding themselves out as the MCCs in their capacity as president, vice-president, secretary general, administrative secretary respectively, without the backing of the law.

Njovu claimed that the defendants had also made decisions that required two/three majority threshold, including sale of party assets and expenditure.

“The sale of major party assets by the defendants had no blessings of any congress or the party’s constitution and thus in breach thereof; the defendants have been striping the party assets with impunity,” submitted Njobvu and 10 others.

“The general membership of the party had been deliberately sidelined and excluded from the party activities by not holding the congress in 19 years and systematically, by selling assets without consultations and approval of the congress.”

The complainant stated that the Registrar of Society had now recognised an interim leadership of the party, which should work hand in hand with the defendants to hold the congress by December this year.

He claimed that the defendants were unwilling to follow the directive of the Registrar of Societies and that several meetings with the defendants to hold the congress were to no avail.

“The defendants now want to hold a smoke screen congress to legitimise their illegal hold on to power and escape liability of abuse of office and sale of party assets.

“The need to hold a properly constituted party congress was a matter of urgency and not negotiable. By not holding a congress for 19 years, the defendants had breached the party constitution and had caused damage to the party through loss of membership and making the once vibrant party irrelevant to the Zambian political and democratic dispensation” the complainants said.

The plaintiffs also want an order that the defendants produce a full UNIP inventory of assets and funds within and outside the country, an order for an account of all the party assets sold from 2000 to date, costs and any other relief the court may deem fit.

The matter comes up for inter parte hearing on August 29, 2019.

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