The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has applied for leave to commence Judicial Review proceedings in the Lusaka High Court against the decision of the Registrar of Societies to deregister the party.
On August 21, 2019, the Registrar of Society deregistered the party for having an inoperative Constitution.
However, NDC Secrertary General Bridget Atanga, who has cited the Attorney General as respondent, is seeking the court’s declaration that the decision of the Registrar of Societies to cancel the certificate of registration of the party is illegal, unreasonable and procedurally improper.
She wants the court to quash the decision of the Registrar of Societies and further if leave is granted, the same must act as a stay of the said decision.
Atanga also wants the hearing of the matter to be expedited and an order for costs.
In an affidavit in support of ex-parte summons for leave to apply for judicial review, Atanga explained that the party was registered on September 22, 2017 as a society pursuant to the Societies Act Chapter 119 of the Laws of Zambia, having fulfilled all legal requirements for registration.
She stated that the effect of the registration of a society and issuance of a certificate thereof, is conclusive evidence that the chief Registrar of Societies was satisfied that all the requirements of registering a society under the Laws of Zambia had been complied with.
Atanga added that NDC enjoyed national support and had full-fledged party structures through out the country, with representation in the National Assembly.
She further stated that on May 18, eight out of 10 office bearers of NDC met for the purpose of amending the constitution for the better running of the party.
Atanga added that the office bearers deliberated upon and agreed to adopt a new set of disciplinary rules to govern the party and its disciplinary procedures.
She stated that the said new disciplinary rules, changes and amendments to the party Constitution were presented to the office of the Registrar on May 20, 2019.
Atanga stated the Chief Registrar of Societies does not have powers to cancel the certificate of registration of the party retrospectively.
She further stated that the Registrar of Societies’ decision which was communicated by the Ministry of Home Affairs through a statement is illegal and not supported by any law whatsoever.
“That I have equally been advised by counsel that the said decision to cancel the certificate of registration of NDC is also illegal as no official notice of intention to cancel registration was ever served on the party to give reasons why the party’s certificate of registration ought not to be canceled,” read the affidavit.
“That I have further been advised that all the reasons set out in the press release as the basis for cancellation of the certificate of the registration of NDC do not form any of the grounds upon which a society can have its certificate of registration canceled under the Societies Act.”
She stated that the decision of the Chief Registrar to rely on the Constitution of Zambia to cancel the certificate of registration of the party is illegal as her powers to do so is limited to the Societies Act.
Atanga now craves the indulgence of the court to grant her leave to commence judicial review proceedings against the respondent.