THE Lusaka High Court has granted an interim injunction to three bus drivers, allowing them to continue operating from Kulima Tower bus station.
This is a case in which the plaintiffs, Kingley Limbali, Gestable Chikambwe and Christopher Nengule, who are bus operators at Kulima Tower Bus Station, allege that the defendants, being Tresford Mwila and nine others, have been denying them access to Kulima Tower Bus Station and unlawfully collecting levies from the plaintiffs, as they are purported to be running and managing the bus station.
On January 30, 2020, Limbali and the two other plaintiffs issued a Writ of Summons and simultaneously took out ex parte summons for an Order of Interim Injunction pursuant to Order XXVII, Rule 4 of The High Court.
According to the injunction, Mwila and his colleagues, either by themselves or by their servants or agents or otherwise, have been restrained from collecting money, fees or levies and preventing Limbali and others from operating at Kulima Tower or otherwise interfering in their operations until final determination of the case before the Court.
The plaintiffs alleged that they had suffered loss of money unlawfully collected by the defendants and stood to suffer irreparable harm on each day that their legal right to access and operate from Kulima Tower Bus Station is infringed upon by the defendants if they were not restrained by an injunction, pending determination of the substantive matter.
In her ruling, Justice Pixie Yangailo noted that the defendant had not responded to the claim and decided to make the ruling based on the affidavit filed by the plaintiffs.
“It was further averred that the plaintiffs were forcefully and illegally ejected from Kulima Tower by the defendants and despite their request for police assistance, none came forth and this resulted in the plaintiffs being assaulted. It is also averred that approximately K63,000 has been unlawfully collected from the plaintiffs by the defendants, which has resulted in the plaintiffs suffering irreparable harm. That the plaintiffs accrue substantial losses of approximately K1,200 per day in unlawful levies collected by the defendants. In the accompanying affidavit in support sworn by the 1st plaintiff, it was averred inter alia, that the defendants, who are not constituted as a legal entity nor appointed by Lusaka City Council, have been unlawfully collecting levies from the plaintiffs for use of Kulima Tower Bus Station” said Justice Yaingailo.
“I directed that the matter proceeds inter parte on February 18, 2020. On the return date, all the parties’ advocates were in attendance and the defendants’ advocates requested for an adjournment on the basis that they have just been retained. I granted the application for an adjournment on condition that the parties file herein their respective affidavits and written arguments within a specified period, upon which I would proceed to render my ruling. None of the parties complied with my directives and I have now proceeded to render the ruling based on the affidavit in support filed herein.”
She added that the plaintiffs showed that they had a clear right of relief and that they had a good, arguable claim to the interests that they sought to protect, and that they equally showed that there was a chance of them succeeding at the main trial.
Justice Yaingailo stated that the plaintiffs, or any other citizen for that matter, were entitled to seek relief against being denied access to public bus stations by fellow citizens and that the denial of such access attracted a presumption of irreparable loss.
The application was granted with costs to the plaintiffs to be taxed in default of agreement.