UNIP president Tilyenji Kaunda and his co-defendants have asked the Lusaka High Court for extension of time to appeal the decision by the registrar to declare that the action by 11 members of UNIP who have sued Kaunda and others for performing functions of the Members of the Central Committee (MCC) following the expiration of their term in 2005, is rightly before court.
In this matter, Fackson Njobvu and 10 others have cited party vice-president Njekwa Anamela, secretary general of the party 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.
Party scretary general Alfred Banda had alleged that Njobvu and 10 others
were no longer geninue members of the party.
Banda claimed that the lead plaintiff in the matter, Fackson Njobvu, was no longer a member of UNIP as he defected to the MMD after he sold a party building in Chaisa area and he never applied for re-admission to the party.
The secretary general stated that the other plaintiffs are also not geninue members of UNIP as they have been moving from one party to another especially, the recent ruling parties, while others were not in good standing with the party due to various disciplinary cases at different levels of the party structure.
According to an affidavit in support of notice of intention to raise preliminary issues, Banda indicated that the defedants in reaction to the action by the plaintiffs have filed notice of intention to raise preliminary issues.
He said an action based on the same facts and involving the same defedants was earlier filed into court and had already been determined by the High Court.
Banda stated that the action by the plaintiffs was an abuse of court process as the action by plaintiffs indicated Njobvu and 10 others but down on the same writ of summons shows Njobvu and 350 others and such was repeated in paragraph two of the affidavit in support of ex parte summons for an order of interim injunction, while the details of the 350 were not availed.
Banda contended that the Kaunda-led group has always filed the necessary annual retruns to the Registrar of Societies and there was no record of the recognition of the plaintiffs by the Registrar of Socities as UNIP interim committee.
He added that there was no duly convened meeting of UNIP electing the plaintiffs as such.
In his ruling, district registrar S. Nyimbiri said the claims or reliefs being sought by Njobvu and 10 others are not res judicata (already determined) as they were different from the reliefs which were sought in another matter of 2013, therefore allowing such issues to be raised in the subsequent proceedings amounts to abuse of court process and that the issue fails for lack of merit and is dismissed.
He said on the argument that the plaintiffs are no longer members of UNIP and have no locus standi to bring this action as alleged by the defendants, Kaunda and others bear the burden of demonstrating that the complainants do not have locus standi to bring the said action.
Registrar Nyimbiri said the defendants have not adduced any evidence of the alleged resignation or expired or membership of Njobvu and others and in the absence of such evidence he found that the defendants’ issue of the plaintiffs’ lack of locus standi is unsubstantiated and as such it also fails and is dismissed.
“The plaintiffs’ action is not incompetent before this court as alleged. The defendants’ application, therefore fails as both issues raised are dismissed for lack of merit,” registrar Nyimbiri said.
Banda stated that after consultations amongst themselves on July 15,
2020 they instructed their lawyers to appeal against the ruling of the registrar but both lawyers handing the matter
Laston Mwanabo and Haakainsi were out of town.
“We were informed that Mr Mwanabo had travelled to Livingstone to attend a matter before judge Charles Zulu in the Livingstone High Court while Mr Haakainsi had traveled to Kapiri Mposhi to attend to a matter before Hon Banda at Kapiri Mposhi surbodinate court,” Banda said.
He further explained that on July 17, 2020 when their advocates returned to Lusaka the seven days period in which to appeal to the judge at chambers had already expired.
“The delay to file the appeal within the stipulated time was because we were still consulting within ourselves on the way forward coupled with the absence of our advocates but we were desirous to pursue an appeal,” Banda said.
He urged the court to enlarge the time within which to file a notice of appeal to the judge at chambers.
Banda added that no prejudice would be
occasioned on the plaintiff if the application is granted his application but the interest of justice would be served.