The Lusaka High Court has settled a three-year-long MMD leadership battle after declaring a convention held in 2016 which elected Felix Mutati and others as office bearers, null and void.
Lusaka High Court judge Sharon Newa has ordered the Registrar of Societies to immediately correct the register of office holders of MMD to those before the 2016 convention was held, in this case Nevers Mumba and his group.
And Mumba has attributed the victory to God saying, he knew all along that justice would be served no matter how long it t.
But Mutati and Raphael Nakacinda have said a party is made up of people, adding that it has been proved that Mutati has the biggest following.
In this matter, Winnie Zaloumis (plaintiff) in her capacity as MMD acting National Secretary for the Mumba led-MMD had sued Mutati, Mwansa Mbulakulima, Raphael Nakacinda and George Kangwa in the Lusaka High Court, challenging the legality of the convention that was held in Kabwe that elected Mutati and others into office.
During trial, the plaintiff had called eight witnesses to aid their case, whereas the defendants had called 24.
Delivering a five hour judgement, justice Newa ruled that the defendants, Mutati, Nakachinda, Mbulakulima and Kangwa had no power to call, convene and attend any meeting or convention of the party, as they purported to do on May 20 to 22, 2016.
She added that the deliberations, resolutions, elections and pronouncements made at the said convention are null and void and of no legal effect.
“I accordingly order that the Registrar of Societies shall rectify the register of office holders of the MMD forthwith to those before the convention was held. The plaintiff having succeeded on the claims, I award her costs of the action to be taxed in default of agreement,” justice Newa ruled.
Justice Newa said the notice for the convention was issued by the second defendant in contravention of the party constitution, and it was therefore not valid.
Justice Newa further ruled that Mutati having been expelled from the party, although irregularly, but as he had not challenged that expulsion, was not eligible to stand as president of the party in line with Article 39(1) of the party constitution, which provides that a person who is not a member of the party shall not be elected as president of the party.
She further ruled that the second and third defendants being persons who had been suspended had no right to convene, attend or participate in the convention as their rights as members of the MMD were on hold.
She granted leave to appeal.
After the judgment, Mutati’s and Mumba’s supporters who waited outside the court complex expressed mixed feelings.
Reacting to the judgement, Mumba said: “A three year battle has come to an end. This is something the members of our party have been looking forward to. We knew all along that justice is going to be served no matter how long it takes. Meaning that there is only one leadership for MMD, led by myself and the National Executive Committee. We just want to give God the praise,” said Mumba.
But Mutati and Nakacinda said a party is made up of people.
“Umo nasenda ichipepa mulya but ichipani bantu. Nachi ilanga ichine cheka ati ukwete abantu ni Mutati. (Someone has won the ruling, but a party is made up of people. It has been proved that Mutati has the biggest following,” Nakachinda said as Mutati’s crowd jubilated.