The Ndola High Court has dismissed an application by the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) to discharge an injunction that stayed the electoral process and put on hold the election that were supposed to take place last month.

According to a ruling made by Ndola Judge Mary Mulanda, the association’s application was contradictory, saying FAZ did not clearly state the kind of relief being sort.

“Counsel further submitted that the Defendant’s application had made two contradictory prayers, namely, (1) that the action be dismissed, and (2) that the cause of action be stayed. It was contended that the Defendants should have made it clear which one of the two reliefs they were seeking. Submitting on the third issue raised in opposition to the Defendants’ application, Counsel submitted that the Defendants, having deposed in their affidavit filed on 16th March, 2020 in support of Summons to discharge the Ex-parte Order, dated 11th March, 2020, that the Plaintiffs were not members of the 2nd Defendant, the FAZ arbitration clause under Article 63 of its Constitution was inoperative against the Plaintiffs since they were not members of FAZ,” judge Mulanda said.

She further said the Ndola High Court had jurisdiction to rule over disputes related to FAZ.

“I hold the view that the jurisdiction of a court, under Section 10, is not automatically ousted simply because a matter brought before it is a subject of an arbitration clause. The jurisdiction will only be ousted if a party requests that the matter be stayed and referred to arbitration. I am fortified by the decision of the Court of Appeal in the Ben Consulting Inc Limited case, wherein the Court concisely guided as follows: The mode of commencing proceedings under Section 10 of the Arbitration Act is set out in Rule 4 of the Arbitration (Court Proceedings) Rules, 2001,” read judge Mulanda’s ruling.

“Since there is no application before me to trigger the ouster of the Court’s jurisdiction under Section 10 of the Arbitration Act, this Court has jurisdiction to preside over this matter until when an application will be made by either of the parties to these proceedings, if they so wish. Consequently, the Defendants’ application to determine this matter under Order 14 A of the Rules of the Supreme Court of England (White Book) on a point of law, challenging the jurisdiction of the Court, is accordingly refused. Costs for this application will be for the Plaintiff. Leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal is hereby granted.”