Justice Newa’s MMD ruling is decisive, compelling

THOSE who lose court cases should do so in peace. In fact, it is a sign of great maturity to be magnanimous in defeat. “Umulembwe wacipuba”, claims an Ushi proverb, “upwila muli tumfwe”. We do understand that at least two people have appealed Justice Sharon Newa’s ruling in the MMD case. We find this appeal to be confused and outrightly baseless. But we should not be the ones to stop anyone from exercising their rights of appeal. Perhaps we might need to only advise the appellants that they had better spend their money and resources on something that is more worthwhile than appeal a very clear decision of a conscientious judge.

For the appeal court to reverse Madam Justice Newa, the court must be convinced that Judge Newa misapprehended the facts and the law. This is an improbable proposition. Leaving the law aside, we can also use common sense to interrogate the MMD issue. Once we apply common sense, the law and the facts, we will find that Justice Newa was not only correct, but explained her position eloquently. But appealing, they have appealed, and once more, they will lose just like they have always been losing. The court records are there for all to see. Mr Felix Mutati and Mr Nakachinda have been losing against Dr Nevers Mumba for years and in all levels of court. But like tenacious clowns, they continue going to court, only to lose and lose some more.

The MMD case was really very simple. MMD elected Nevers Mumba in 2012. The party was to have a convention in 2016. However, Nevers Mumba and his NEC decided to postpone the convention to the next year. Disgruntled folks such as Mr Mutati and several others decided to hold a convention of their own in 2016 and anointed Mutati as president. They popped a thousand balloons and smeared white powder on their faces in a sign that they had held an MMD convention. From 2016, to at least last week, Mr Mutati has been conducting himself as president of the MMD. It is just so sad that this gentleman was masquerading with this nonsense for such a long time. Our courts are quite slow, but they do really catch up. On 4 November 2019, Justice Newa issued her decision. It was correct, incisive and compelling. The NEC of the MMD had correctly decided to not hold the convention in 2016. Whatever Mr Mutati smeared himself with at his purported convention did not make it an MMD convention. And no matter how much powder you use, it would never redeem a failed project.

Justice Newa’s decision confirms the law that governs clubs and societies. Had Mutati won this court case, it would have implanted confusion in all societies in Zambia. What it would have meant is that any group of disgruntled directors can drop more balloons and declare their faction as the real society. Imagine disgruntled Catholics coming together in Lusaka and then claiming that they have elected a new pope or a new bishop because Rome has taken too long to appoint one. Imagine the confusion it would cause if it happened to a church such as Grace Ministries where a disgruntled few decide the leader has taken too long to hold a convention, we will have our own and anoint for ourselves a new leader. There would be chaos! Madam Justice Newa’s decision makes a lot of sense and is a victory for the rule of law in organisations and civil society organisations.

If Mutati had concerns about Nevers Mumba, he had channels to use within the MMD structures. You do not go off tangent to anoint your own convention and convene it with the disgruntled fellows. That is not how it works.
The appeal has apparently been lodged. We look forward to hearing the submissions. The appellants are being represented by the law firm that belongs to PF minister Makebi Zulu. I personally do not believe that this law firm can change the facts or the law.

Nevertheless, just like they have always done – I can predict that the appellants will lose, as they are a bunch of losers.

The author can be reached at elias@munshyalaw.com.

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