ELEVEN members of UNIP have argued that the notion or intention to raise preliminary issue by the outgoing executive members of the Tilyenji Kaunda administration is an attempt to delay the course of justice.
Fackson Njobvu and 10 others say this is an election year and the matter has delayed since August 6, 2019 because of the preliminary issues and ex-parte orders the defendants have been obtaining.
Outgoing members of the central committee of UNIP argued that the application by 11 members of the party for the dismissal of the ex-parte order granted to them staying proceedings in a matter where they have been sued for performing their functions following the expiration of their mandate was irregularly before court.
Tilyenji and three others in a notice to raise preliminary issue said that the court had no authority to determine the plaintiffs’ application as no permission of court was sought to file the same during the Christmas holiday.
“Take notice that the defendants shall raise the following preliminary issue when the plaintiffs’ application filed on December 23, 2020 to set aside the order of stay of proceedings comes up for hearing,” read the notice.
“The application filed by the plaintiffs on December 23, 2020 is irregularly before the court for having been filed during the Christmas vacation without leave of court, and the court therefore has no jurisdiction to hear the plaintiffs’ application for want of leave.”
This is in a matter where Njobvu and 10 others have sued Tilyenji, 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.
In an affidavit in opposition to notice of intention to raise preliminary issue sworn by Maxwell Ng’ambi, the plaintiffs say the preliminary issue that the defendants want to raise was dismissed by the district registrar and upon appeal it was also dismissed.
Ngambi said Tilyenji and others had abused the ex-parte order staying proceedings to circumvent the order of injunction restraining them from performing their duties as members of the central committee (MCC) of UNIP.
He said the plaintiffs asked the court to set aside the ex-parte order staying proceedings owing to the behaviour by the defendants.
Ngambi stated that on January 19, 2021, the plaintiffs’ advocates were served with a notice of motion to raise preliminary issue by the defendants accompanied by skeleton arguments and list of authorities, but the said notice was not supported by any affidavit as evidence of the defendants’ assertions.
“The defendants do not have any opposition to the summons to set aside ex-parte order of stay granted to the defendants on December 2020,” Ng’ambi said.
He argued that there was no irregularity on the plaintiffs’ application.
The delay in disposing off the matter will only be beneficial to the defendants.
“The plaintiffs’ claims have to do with the reorganisation of UNIP in view of the August 12, 2021 presidential and general elections. It has become necessary to dismiss the defendants preliminary issue for abuse of court process,” said Ng’ambi.