THE Lusaka High Court has refused to grant Justice Minister Given Lubinda permission to commence judicial review against the Lusaka City Council’s decision to postpone the implementation of its resolution to bestow upon him the status of Alderman.
Lusaka High Court judge Pixie Yangailo has accordingly dismissed Lubinda’s application for leave to apply for judicial review after finding that there has been undue delay on Lubinda’ part in making the said application.
She noted that the decision, which Lubinda, who is also Kabwata PF member of parliament, wants LCC to be compelled to implement was made on May 5, 2016, but that the application for judicial review was only filed on March 15, 2021, a period exceeding the stipulated period.
Judge Yangailo further said in her ruling delivered on March 24, this year, that Lubinda’s application was neither promptly launched nor made within three months from the date when grounds for the application first arose.
She added that no reasons were advanced by Lubinda for this lapse and further that Lubinda had not expressly asked the Court for enlargement of time within which to make his application.
Judge Yangailo said Lubinda had, therefore, not placed before court any good reason for the court to extend the period to commence judicial review.
“The failure to make an application for leave to apply for judicial review promptly and in any event within three months constitutes undue delay. I, therefore, find that there has been undue delay in making the application for judicial review. As a consequence of my finding, I refuse to grant leave to apply for judicial review and accordingly dismiss the application,” ruled Judge Yangailo.
In this matter, Lubinda wanted the Court to grant him an order of mandamus compelling the council to implement its resolution conferring the status of Alderman upon him.
Lubinda also wanted a declaration that the council’s decision to defer the implementation of its resolution was illegal and constituted abuse of process.
He lamented that during the period that the council had not implemented the said resolution, he had suffered loss of income from sitting allowance and discounted ground rates.
According to an affidavit verifying facts relied on for leave to apply for judicial review filed into court on March 15, Lubinda explained that he had been a member of parliament for Kabwata constituency from 2001 to-date.
He added that he also served as a councilor of the Lusaka City Council for 15 consecutive years from 2001 to May 11, 2016.
Lubinda stated that on May 4, 2016, the LCC resolved by way of resolution C/137/05/16 to bestow upon him the status of Alderman.
He added that despite the council’s resolution being passed as far back as May 5, 2016, he was only informed of the said resolution on June 23, 2017, by way of a letter from the town clerk.
Lubinda further stated that by way of the said letter, the council informed him that the official implementation of its resolution was to be held on June 27, 2017, and further that his attendance was required.
He, however, stated that some time after June 23, 2017, the council through the town clerk informed him of the deferment of the official implementation of its resolution to a later date to be advised.
“On June 25, 2018, I wrote to LCC requesting it to implement the said resolution. I have engaged LCC on numerous occasions over the past years, but to-date, the council has refused or neglected to implement the resolution,” Lubinda stated.
He stated that on February 10, 2021, his advocates sent a letter to the LCC demanding the implementation of the resolution, but that on February 15, 2021, the LCC replied and requested for an extension of the time within which to comply with the said demands.
Lubinda stated that in response to the letter, his lawyers extended the time in which to comply with the demand by a further 10 days.
He stated that not having received a response, he now intends to apply for judicial review against the council’s decision not to implement the said resolution.
Lubinda stated that the council’s decision not to implement the resolution was without sufficient cause or justification.
And in his statement of ex-parte application for leave to apply for judicial review, Lubinda submitted that the council’s decision to defer the implementation of the said resolution was unreasonable and irrational and made without justifiable grounds.
He argued that the decision by the council had adversely affected him in that the LCC had acted unfairly by not availing him reasons for its reluctance to implement the resolution.
Lubinda further stated that the council’s decision to indefinitely defer the implementation of the resolution was illegal as it was not based on any provision of the Local Government Act Cap 281.