UNZALARU general secretary Kelvin Mambwe has argued that there were no derogatory, disparaging, demeaning or spiteful insults that were hurled at the University of Zambia (UNZA) management warranting the termination of the Recognition Agreement.
And Mambwe has further argued that UNZA management has not demonstrated or provided any evidence of how his remarks that, “only idiots or those enjoying with PF would vote for them if elections were held today,” incited ‘industrial disharmony.’
In this matter, the University of Zambia Lecturers and Researchers Union (UNZALARU) is challenging the Acting Labour Commissioner’s decision to approve the University Council’s application to terminate the Recognition Agreement between the Union and the Council.
Mambwe, in his capacity as general secretary of UNZALARU, has sued the Attorney General and the University of Zambia Council as first and second respondents, respectively.
Sitali Wamundila, a registrar at UNZA had argued in an affidavit in opposition to originating notice of motion for judicial review, that the complaint that the Council lodged to the Acting Labour Commissioner wherein section 65A was invoked to terminate the Recognition Agreement between UNZALARU and the Council, was within the parameters of the law.
He further submitted that the UNZALARU general secretary’s remarks that, ‘only idiots or those enjoying with PF would vote for them if elections were held today,’ were derogatory, disparaging, demeaning, spiteful and injurious to the University management.
Wamundila also argued that UNZALARU’s failure to show the illegality of the Acting Labour Commissioner’s decision to approve the termination of the Recognition Agreement between the Union and the University Council, did not warrant the application for judicial review.
But Mambwe in his reply argued that there were no derogatory, disparaging, demeaning or spiteful insults that were hurled at UNZA management warranting the termination of the Recognition Agreement.
He added that UNZA had not cited any examples of the alleged insults.
Mambwe also submitted that UNZA management had not highlighted the remarks that he allegedly made, which fell outside the objects and mandate of UNZALARU.
He added that the meeting of January 6, 2020, was within the mandate, objectives and functions of UNZALARU as a trade union, contrary to the allegations by the Council.
Mambwe further argued that UNZA management had not stated the alleged myriad of insults to it in its affidavit in opposition and did not do so in any of its letters to the Labour Commissioner.
“The view I had expressed was in the context of the issues that had prompted the meeting of January 6, 2020,” Mambwe stated.
He stated that the past decisions of UNZA management to invoke section 65A of the Industrial and Labour Relations Act, Chapter 269 of the Zambian laws should not have had a bearing on the Labour Commissioner’s determination of UNZA’s application for termination of the Recognition Agreement in January, 2020, as each application had to be dealt with on its own merits.
Mambwe further stated that UNZA management did not demonstrate to the Labour Commissioner that the relationship between the parties had broken down irretrievably and did not follow the provisions of clause 18 of the recognition agreement in relation to the termination of the same.
“The Labour Commissioner in fact stated, and wrongly so, that the applicant did violate section 6 of the Industrial and Labour Relations Act and breached Article 18 of the Recognition Agreement between UNZALARU and UNZA management,” stated Mambwe.