MMD president Nevers Mumba has been knocked out of the presidential race slated for January 20, 2014 following the Lusaka High Court decision to discharge the interim injunction in which he had challenged his suspension from the former ruling party.
Dr Mumba remains suspended from the MMD for six months during which period the presidential election would have passed.
The ruling means MMD presidential candidate Rupiah Banda will be the one representing the former ruling party at the presidential election next month.
Mr Banda has described the High Court ruling as heartening and that he was happy the matter had come to a conclusion.
“I am walking tall and that is how I am feeling with the decision of the court,” Mr Banda said.
Dr Mumba had obtained an interim injunction restraining party national secretary Muhabi Lungu from interfering in the office of party president.
High Court judge Chalwe Mchenga said Dr Mumba should have indicated whether the interlocutory injunction he sought related to the disciplinary proceedings against the presidential campaign or otherwise.
In his ruling delivered yesterday, Mr Justice Mchenga said Dr Mumba should have set out, in definite terms, what Mr Lungu should be precluded from doing by the injunction he sought.
Dr Mumba was represented by Lungu Simwanza and Company while Mr Lungu was represented by Shamwana and Company.
Mr Justice Mchenga said in the absence of definite parameters, a court could not grant an injunction in very general terms as the defendant could not be held responsible for failing to comply with a prohibition that has not been specifically spelt out.
“Consequently, the interim injunction granted to the plaintiff on 25th November, 2014 is discharged with costs. I grant the plaintiff leave to appeal,” he said.
Mr Justice Mchenga said he considered and failed to find the scope of parametres of an injunction that stops Mr Lungu “either by himself, agents, servants and whomsoever from interfering with the smooth running of the office and functions of party president by the plaintiff” given that he was a party functionary with a number of responsibilities.
“What conduct on the part of the defendant will amount to ‘intereference’? Is it limited to acts that are illegal or any act that the plaintiff thinks interferes with his running of the party?” he said.
Justice Mchenga said in the absence of particulars of the mischief, Dr Mumba sought to forestall during the subsistence of the injunction, he (judge) was not in a position to inform Mr Lungu, in definite terms, what he was precluded from doing during its subsistence if he granted it.
The judge said Dr Mumba sought an interlocutory injunction to stop Mr Lungu “either by himself, agents, servants and whomsoever from interfering with the smooth running of the office and functions of party president by the plaintiff”.
Mr Justice Mchenga said Dr Mumba also deposed that if the injunction was not granted, Mr Lungu was likely to continue breaching the party constitution and thereby causing him to suffer injustice, a situation that would lead to a breach of peace in the country. Earlier, during submission in court, Dr Mumba said that the meeting that suspended him was illegal because the required notice to convene it was not given to all national executive committee members and that the minutes were not circulated and was not informed of the party constitution mandates that he chairs such a meeting. But Mr Lungu said Dr Mumba’s suspension was in line with the party constitution, but he (Mumba) chose to ignore it and unlawfully held a press conferences and declared himself party’s presidential candidate.
Speaking after the ruling, Mr Lungu said Dr Mumba should immediately stop his campaigns and as he remained suspended.
He said when Dr Mumba was suspended he was given 10 days to respond but he has not done so.
“So what I will be doing now is to make recommendations to the sub disciplinary committee to determine the way forward,” Mr Lungu said.