LUNTE Member of Parliament Felix Mutati has appealed against the High Court ruling that upheld the MMD national executive committee decision to expel him from the party because the action will bar him from contesting the presidency of the former ruling party.
Mr Mutati filed a memorandum of appeal in the Supreme Court against High Court Justice Mwamba Chanda’s ruling that he remains expelled as the decision was already made before commencement of the application for an injunction to restrain the party from taking such action.
He explained that the High Court judge erred in law when she refused to grant him the injunction against his expulsion because it interfered with his rights to contest the presidency of the former ruling party.
“That the learned Puisne Judge’s decision to refuse the injunction is contrary to the provisions of Article 72 (5) of the Constitution of Zambia as amended by the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Act No. 2 of 2016 which allows the appellant (Mutati) to continue exercising and enjoying his rights as a Member of Parliament for the respondent (MMD) while the matter of his expulsion and/or membership of the party is being challenged in the High Court proceedings,” the memorandum read.
He charged that the judge refused his application despite his being a member of the MMD and entitled to enjoy the right to contest an election at the convention.
The High Court ruled that the Lunte MP remains expelled from MMD as the interlocutory injunction sought by the applicant could not be issued to restore membership to a political party because the expulsion had already occurred.
This was in a matter in which Mr Mutati applied for judicial review pending a petition to the Constitutional Court to compel the former ruling party’s NEC to hold a national convention before the August 11 general elections.
The Lunte parliamentarian with Ikelenge MP Elijah Muchima and Lufwanyama’s Anne Chungu contested through the Constitution Court the decision by the NEC not to hold a convention before the 2016 general elections.
Mr Mutati sued MMD’s secretary general Mwansa Mbulakulima for a decision made by the executive committee meeting which met in February to expel him and two others from the party.
Ms Justice Chanda said there was no dispute in Mr Mutati’s application for an injunction, as he was a member of the MMD which party expelled him as per record, but that through a letter dated 22nd February 2016 for the Speaker of the National Assembly was notified of the expulsion of the plaintiff (Mutati) and requested to declare his parliamentary seat vacant.
The Lady Justice said it was common ground that by that letter it was indication that Mr Mutati had already been expelled from the party by the time the matter came before her.
The judge said she would not go ahead and grant an injunction which was bound to serve no useful purpose as was the case with the matter before her.
But Mr Mutati in his appeal claimed that the High Court failed to appreciate that his expulsion was illegal and overruled his rights to natural justice in the Audi Alteram Partem rule.