The Lusaka High court has dismissed a case in which the embattled MMD president Dr Nevers Mumba had launched a legal battle to have the MMD national convention that saw the election of former Lunte Member of Parliament Felix Mutati as the party president declared illegal, null and void.
In his ruling to discharge an order granted to Mr Mutati to hold the MMD national convention Justice Eddie Sikazwe dismissed the case after he established that the matter was not properly before the the court because his court did not have the jurisdiction to preside over a matter before another High Court judge.
Justice Sikazwe said that the matter was also not proper because it represented a scenario of forum shopping and an abuse of the court’s process.
He added it was a fact that the same parties, on essentially same issues, had sued each other in three different causes of actions and that all in all three different High Court Judges have had dealings with the two parties at one time or another raising similar issues adding that Justice Mwamba Chanda was in the process of determining the main matter.
Justice Sikazwe said he had considered the evidence on record and that he was indebted to counsel for their oral submissions and affidavits and that the gist of the arguments by Dr Mumba’s counsel was that there were two matters under different cause numbers and two different courts.
Dr Mumba’s lawyer said the issues raised and reliefs sought were substantially different and as such the matters were to be heard differently.
Mr Justice Sikazwe added that but the counsel for the defendants submitted that all reliefs sought in the matters before the different courts were related to the subject of the convention. Thus, a classic example of forum shopping and abuse of the court process.
He said on totality of the evidence on record, he had noted that it was common cause that the cause of the action in the current matter arose out of the Mr Mutati’s alleged expulsion from the MMD Party where he later commenced an action challenging his expulsion.
Justice Sikazwe said the matter was scheduled for trial on June 13 before Justice Ms Chanda.
In this case, Dr Mumba filed an application to discharge an order granted to Mr Mutati to hold the MMD National Convention where he challenged the court’s decision to allow Mr Mutati to hold the convention following his application to discharge an ex-parte injunction which was granted to Dr Mumba.
Dr Mumba through his Lawyer a Mr J. Makaai contended that it was illegal for Mr Mutati to hold the convention when he was an expelled member of the party.
He added that the position of MMD president was simple as with or without the court order, the convention which was held in Kabwe was illegal.
This was after Justice Mr Sikazwe discharged an ex-parte interim injunction which was granted to Dr Mumba restraining the Mutati group to hold the Party’s National Convention.
And Mr Mutati made an application for an order to discharge an ex-parte interim injunction because he had already secured and paid for the venue of the convention and delegates had already arrived at the venue.
He further said that the invitations had been sent to various delegates who included foreign dignitaries and members of the civil society.
Mr Mutati had submitted that Dr Mumba through his acting Secretary General Winnie Zaloumis had mislead the court to erroneously believe that this convention had been called for and arranged by him and three others as that was to the contrary as the convention was as a result of six petitions that have been received from six provincial committees who had petitioned for the convention.
Mr Mutati had made the application few days after the High Court stopped the MMD faction lead by Mr Mutati from holding a convention to elect a new party President.